As the new Social Justice Captain, I would like to start by thanking our previous Social Justice Captain Cara Fagan for her dedication and enthusiasm in both JPIC and Green Team over the past year. Cara has been a fantastic leader and I am excited to continue her work in the year ahead.
One of the main social justice activities coming up this term is the Vinnie’s Christmas Hampers. As a school we have participated in this program for a number of years. Tutor groups are assigned items to bring in such as food, school supplies and stationery which is then distributed by Vinnies. This program is truly worthwhile and ties in well with JPIC’s theme for Term 4.
JPIC has decided to make the focus for this term Ethical Christmas. Christmas is a wonderful time of celebration with family and friends however amongst all the festivity there is often also a culture of excess. Too often we tend to forget about the people who make the things we buy and who are often exploited workers. JPIC is working to promote Fairtrade gifts that are ethical and sustainable so that our time of celebration doesn’t impact negatively on others.
Christmas is also a time of generosity when many people choose to donate to charities. Unfortunately, some studies have shown that not all charities are reliable and effective and in some cases well-meaning people can sometimes create greater suffering with their donations. This is particularly relevant for orphanages in which owners often take money for their own benefit and children are left neglected. In fact, 80% of institutionalised children are not orphans and the primary reason children are institutionalised is poverty. Parents who are unable to care for their child think that they will be better cared for in an institution. Children who live in orphanages are at serious risk of developing mental illnesses, attachment disorders, growth and speech disorders and are 500 times more likely to take their own life. This is caused by the lack of individual attention and parental bond. Fortunately, there are organisations that are working to combat these issues by providing support for families so that children are able to stay in the safety of their families.
This week JPIC discussed the work of the Lumos Foundation which works to protect children. Lumos works to transform the harmful system of institutionalisation and reunite children with their families. One of the best ways you can help the eight million institutionalised children is by becoming an advocate for family-based care and choosing to donate to family and community support programs rather than orphanages. By raising awareness of this issue, JPIC aims to ensure that donations have their intended impact of helping children in need.
I look forward to continuing working with JPIC this term and seeing what we can achieve. If students would like to get involved in social justice activities come to JPIC and Green Team at 1:00pm on Thursdays in Room 1:02 GBC.
Social Justice Captain