A team of 18 consisting of Unity Grammar students and alumni, as well as AusRelief personnel, made an incredible effort to travel to Malaysia and Cambodia in January 2019 on a humanitarian aid mission.
In a true reflection of community harmony, President of Baytal Zakat, Mr Issam Obeid, Principal of Arkana College, Mr Sam Halbouni and NSW Premier’s Youth of the Year, Bassam Maaliki from U Belong also joined the Unity Grammar/AusRelief team in this spirit of collaboration rather than competition where the team was able to exceed all expectations in the delivery of aid to those in need.
The 11 days trip to both countries involved the distribution to Rohingya refugees in Malaysia and others in need in Cambodia of 1534 food packs, each pack feeding a family for a month, 250 school stationary sets and book packs, setting up of 17 water wells and 6 toilet blocks and offer of 7 university scholarships for a year enabling 7 intelligent young people who would otherwise miss out, the chance to pursue a tertiary education.
The students were led by Akram Hawchar, a foundation UG student and Unity Grammar first ever school captain, on this incredible journey gaining first-hand rich experience, each paid their own way with the support of sponsors, the school community as well as the wider community.
Community service and service learning are essential elements of the Unity Grammar experience for its students.
During the Cambodia trip, the students also visited mosques, temples, schools and the genocide museum, which was a Khmer Rouge death camp and where 20,000 people were imprisoned and only 12 left it alive.
The students met 2 of those 12 survivors who now work at the museum telling their story.
The Khmer Rouge killed 1.7 million people, almost 40% of whom were from the Muslim minority.
Scores of Cambodians were also killed by US carpet bombing during the Vietnam war as US forces were targeting Viet Cong fighters hiding in villages across the border.
Many of those killed in those bombings were from the Muslim minority as they were concentrated on the border with Vietnam.
The Aus Relief work is largely directed towards the children and grandchildren of these communities now that they now enjoy peace and freedom in the country.