A social justice trip gave year 11 students from Oakhill College the opportunity to directly help India’s poor.
The students renovated and painted houses and taught orphaned children basic English during a two-week visit to the country, which ended on October 4.
They raised $25,000 for the Lasallian Foundation, which operates in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, to fund the projects.
Teacher Martin Gillogly said the trip was an eye-opener for all involved.
“This trip gives the students and staff a reality check [and] enables us to put life in perspective,’’ he said.
The money the college made through barbecues, cupcakes, a trivia night and raffle went directly to Indian orphanages to pay for paint, trees, food and education.
Year 11 students Diksha Merdiratta and Tahlia Jones both enjoyed visiting children at the Boys Village in Madurai, Chennai.
‘‘Interacting with the kids — especially hearing their stories and their experiences — really makes you count your blessings,” Diksha said.
Tahlia said she realised how fortunate young Australians are after seeing how the children in the orphanages live, some with HIV.
“It was an amazing experience, the smiles we could see on their faces by simply just having thumb wars,’’ she said.