Issue 118 Jan 2017

Students build empathy through Slum Survivor experience

Year 8 Arden students experienced a night with a difference at the annual ‘Slum Survivor’ event.  As part of the School’s Geography and Christian Studies program, the students had a 17 hour simulated experience of what it might be like to live in a developing world slum overnight in November.  Mrs Karen Moss, Head of Geography, explained:  “This experiential learning activity aims to enhance students’ perspective as global citizens, building upon their classroom studies on poverty and inequality.  At Arden, we believe that the development of the student should encompass intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth and this simulation is an appropriate way of developing all these qualities.”

The event has now been run for five years and aims to help the students experience empathy for people in need.  As Mr Matthew Mallison, Head of Middle School, explained:  “The experience can change the perspective of the students about living in poverty as they have to do jobs to earn food, find their own water, build their own slum to sleep in (built from scavenged materials), endure being exploited by power-hungry ‘slum lords’ (the Prefects!) and experience what it is like to have very few rights.”

When asked how Slum Survivor has changed his perspective, William Massey shared:  “It has opened my eyes to the hardships those living in extreme poverty must go through everyday of their lives and has inspired me to make a difference in this world.”

Mijin Choi summed up the Slum Survivor experiential learning opportunity well when she said:  “Slum Survivor has helped me get a glimpse of how hard it actually is to live in a third world country.  Even though we learnt about slums in class, it didn’t really help us to see how hard it actually is until we really did it.”

Preschool and Primary

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Beecroft NSW 2119

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Epping NSW 2121

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