In June, 68 students from Porirua College raised funds and chose to donate them to public healthcare provider Pacific Health Plus (PHP) by walking circuits of the neighbourhood, laps of their school field, and doing dance videos in class when the weather was too bad to go outside.
The money was raised as part of Fa’asinoala – “way-finder”, a course run by the college to encourage students that are new to New Zealand, to learn English, and orient themselves to aspects of New Zealand life, including getting to know Porirua and Wellington cities.
The 68 students come from all over the world, including from Pacific islands, Colombia, Vietnam, South Africa, and the Middle East, to name a few.
“The goal of the programme is to demystify this country for the students who are new here,” says Fa’asinoala team leader Anne Moefa’auo.
“We have a lot of students at Porirua College who are migrants and refugees, so it is important to not only teach them English, but also to teach them things like how to catch the train to the city, and know how to ask for the right ticket,” says Ms Moefa’auo.
The students were so impressed by PHP’s commitment to the community during lockdown, delivering care packages and providing care to those most in need, that they decided to donate the money, $405, to them.
Ms Moefa’auo explained: “PHP did so much for the community to make sure no one fell through the cracks, and that is exactly what we are trying to teach these students.”
Part of the course involved the students choosing an illness to research, with the aim of giving an oral presentation for the class. This year, member of the teaching team, PE teacher Helen Collins included elements of physical education and community service by introducing a sponsored 8km walk.