Archbishop’s Award recipient Julian Stevens has had a huge impact with a project that supports and engages young people.
The Champagnat Catholic College, Pagewood Year 12 student is humble about his extraordinary achievements that began last year when he visited an African orphanage.
In 2014 he paid for himself to join Global Leadership Adventures to visit Tanzania with others his age from around the world after they were selected from an essay competition.
The group worked in an orphanage primary school, taught English in the morning and then dug trenches to plant trees and fences around the school. “The locals on their motorbikes were riding through the school grounds and it was dangerous for the kids,” said Julian.
After trench digging they would help with chores in the orphanage. But instead of coming home and feeling satisfied, the visit sparked his passion for humanitarian work.
He set to work raising over $2,500 selling chocolates so that he could send Christmas presents to the children. “With the money left over we were able to sponsor three kids’ schooling for a year at the orphanage, and fund a garden project for them to grow veggies and herbs for the orphanage,” he said.
Straight after the HSC, Julian said, he’s going back for two months on his own to continue his work at the orphanage. Local woman Mumma Feraji runs the Moshi orphanage, which is near Kilimanjaro. She started with only a few children from the village but now it houses 60 children from a few months old to 18 years, spread over two sites.
Julian said many of the 18 year olds end up staying at the orphanage, helped by sponsorships and other money raised – and some of them attend university.
“Lots of them stay on and help at the orphanage, there are two women who work there who grew up at the orphanage,” he said.
“I’ve always wanted to do humanitarian work. I’m a gymnastics coach, I’ve always loved working with children.”