Siena College Camberwell - Immersion Program | Siena College
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Immersion Program

Indigenous Immersion

Year 9, 10 and 11 students have the opportunity to participate in an exciting and enriching immersion program in the Northern Territory. The experience is based on a commitment to social justice that is central to the Dominican charism. Students learn about the culture, values, beliefs and traditions of Indigenous Australians; listening to stories and taking time to reflect on our commitment to reconciliation are integral to this immersion.

South African Immersion

Year 11 students have the opportunity to participate in what has been described as a life changing and enriching immersion program in South Africa. Students spend two weeks living with a host family in Tsakane and assist with the everyday programs offered at Kopanang. Kopanang is a women’s community project that addresses the impact of HIV/AIDS and endemic poverty in the township of Tsakane situated 55 km South East of Johannesburg. It is a township created as the labour force for the gold mines in the area through forced removal of people in the apartheid era. After the last mine closure in 2006, there has been an unprecedented level of unemployment impacting on more than 80% of the population. Most of the women of Kopanang have been deprived of an adequate education, further exacerbating their ability to survive and provide for their families. The community has also been heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS.

The Kopanang community project was cofounded by Sr Sheila Flynn OP to provide the women with a healing space to share their life experiences, their faith and cultural heritage and to learn embroidery and craft skills to enable them to generate a small income.

Students also assist at Sithand’izingane Care Project, located on the same site as Kopanang, which provides a child care program for pre school children, many of whom are orphaned, a home based support program for the sick, a feeding program, tutoring and afterschool educational programs for the children and adolescents in the township. They distribute clothing in the shack areas and deliver crisis food parcels to families. Students also learn about the history of South Africa, apartheid and the struggle for equal rights.