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School pride project makes a difference

SIXTY sets of uniforms have been donated to the Maubara Orphanage in Dili, Timor Leste as part of a student-led initiative at Mount Carmel College.

At the start of term two in 2017, Mount Carmel College introduced a new school uniform, replacing the long-standing brown skirt, brown jumper and white shirt – commonly referred to as the “winter uniform.”

Mount Carmel College director of community relations and development Caroline Jager said staff members, senior students, parents and members of the wider community were involved in a community consultation process to establish a new uniform.

“We wanted a uniform that was contemporary in design while maintaining our students’ distinctive and unique presentation,” she said.

“The new navy uniform was well received and adopted quickly by students, with a two-year phase in period.

“But the question was then raised of what to do with the old brown uniforms.”

A group of year eight students, led by student Jenna Stacey, set out to promote a recycling program for unwanted winter uniforms.

The group made contact with an agency in Timor Leste with a view to support an orphanage in the country.

“Donation boxes were established at the college and families were quick to fill them with dresses, shirts and ties,” Ms Jager said.

“The students faced a few hurdles along the way, including how to get the uniforms to Timor and that Hobart’s winter was vastly different.

“Local business Just Helms helped to solve this problem and altered all the donated shirts to make then short-sleeved.”

During the recent school holidays, 60 sets of uniforms were delivered to the orphanage.

Jenna said the Mount Carmel College community got on board with the initiative straight away.

“The response was so positive and powerful,” she said.

“I think so many people were really happy to able able to get rid of their uniforms, while knowing they were making an incredible impact to the lives of other students in Timor.

“For us, having a uniform is something we definitely take for granted every day.

“Having a uniform brings much pride and belonging, which is so clearly shown in the smile on the faces of the girls.

“I think projects like this are fantastic for our college to be a part of, as it brings everyone together.

“By seeing the impact the uniforms have had on others, it gives our school community a sense of happiness and purpose, as well as reminds us of how incredibly lucky we are.”

The initiative is currently still underway and will continue throughout the uniform changeover period in 2018.

Caption: Mount Carmel College student Jenna Stacey is leading an initiative that is seeing the school donate its old uniforms to an orphanage in Timor Leste.

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