St. Andrew’s Society for Service Around the World (SASSAW) evolved out of St. Andrew’s Society for Service in Nepal (SASSIN) which ran between the years of 1992 and 2000, and sent five groups of students and faculty to the remote mountain regions of Nepal. The stated objective of these trips was to give students an opportunity to do community service on a global scale. Anyone who was involved in a SASSIN trip understood that the collateral benefits of such an experience far outweigh their own small efforts. Students and faculty who were part of the SASSIN trips invariably came back with a wealth of experiences, an appreciation for life in a vastly different culture, and a new-found perspective on the meaning of service.
What evolved out of such noble beginnings was a continued desire among the students to venture outside their comfort zones, by fundraising throughout the academic year, and offering service and financial assistance to people in safer, yet similarly needy, parts of the world.
Over the past 10 years, the SASSAW trips have taken place over three weeks of the summer and have included the following destinations: South Africa, Peru, Thailand, Kenya, Ecuador, Malawi, Namibia, Brazil, Kenya, India, Chile, Costa Rica, and Fiji. Students fundraise all year to raise enough money to support the service project they will be working on. Each trip averages between 15 and 30 students and involves a service project, a Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition, and a cultural tourism component.
SASSAW has transitioned once again. SASSAW is no longer a stand-alone trip, but engages students in an academic course, registration and work toward their direct-entry Duke Of Edinburgh Gold Award, as well as pre-trip in the fall, along with the formal trip in August. For 2016, the boys are travelling to Bornea.
The students in this program have a hands-on role in planning and preparing for the trip, and will have primary responsibility for the logistics and details of the experience once they arrive in Borneo. The new SASSAW experience is student-directed and led.
The students will fly into Hong Kong and then on to Kuala Lumpur before reaching their destination in Borneo. Over the course of three weeks, they will hike the rainforest, explore the Niah Caves, moutain bike around Mount Kinabula, and complete a community service project.
A project and trip to Peru are already underway for 2017.
International service projects allow our students to witness the difficult circumstances many people in this world must live in on a daily basis. It helps young Andreans gain a greater appreciation for the advantages they have, and promotes the self-discovery process necessary for the testing, shaping, and building of values and character. If they can develop a greater understanding of the need for equity in our world, perhaps someday, when in the position to do so, they may be motivated to take action toward the achievement of a more just society.
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
The Gold Level Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions that are part of each SASSAW program allow our students the chance to engage in physical challenges and thereby helps to cultivate in them a spirit of adventure and discovery. They provide opportunities for students to explore nature and, in the process, to learn more about the world around them, and to better connect with that world. The chance to work together as a team with a common purpose also helps students learn more about themselves.
In cultural tourism, both the host and the guest carry with them their awareness of identity and from the interaction between the two, something new can emerge. It can help both sides renew bonds with their roots, as well as spark curiousity about what has been lost in their respective cultures. For the host, the opportunity to earn a living from cultural tourism can give incentives for local training and education. It can promote improvement of local skills, traditions, and arts and crafts, which can be of mutual benefit to the population, the tourists, and the government. For the guests, our students, it can provide an invaluable opportunity to start to learn the story of the local people and gain some understanding about the significance of the local experience.