28 Jun

20 Year Celebration Profile – Ruby Fahey, SPW Old Scholar.

We’re always encouraged by stories from our old scholar community. Ruby Fahey’s story warms our heart as she dedicates herself to the service of others.

We’ve asked Ruby to share her story here as we believe she is a beautiful example of how children can take their learning in Primary school and continue to develop and flourish as they grow.

Meredith Williams and Amanda Kelly presenting Ruby with stationery to donate to her charity, Amity.

My time at SPW set the scene for things to come

My time at St Peter’s Woodlands has been a distinct highlight in my life, developing me into the ambitious person I am today.

I am lucky enough to still have an active connection with the school as a netball umpire and OSHC educator. Having only attended the school for Year 6 and 7, the two years I was at SPW, I learnt so much about exploring the world around me and becoming a risk taker.

Inquiry learning opened my eyes to the world around me

Being involved in inquiry learning at the school and through the exhibition in Year 7, I was taught to wonder and this allowed me to open myself up to the world. Learning about entrepreneurship through the Jumble Sale and constant fundraising initiated by the SRC, taught me the value of community service and respect.

I took these experiences with me as I transitioned into Sacred Heart High School where I was fortunate to travel to India and Sri Lanka in 2017 to help in the development of communities. The expedition sparked my passion for helping children in developing communities to change their standard of living.

Ruby visiting communities.

Looking back on my education, I was very privileged to receive thirteen years of schooling. However, there are too many children who do not get these same opportunities. This was glaringly apparent during my trip to India and Sri Lanka.

Despite the lack of educational opportunities and resources, these communities are the most genuine and welcoming people I have met. I took away a huge amount of respect for these people and a desire to support them and their children. Upon my arrival home, it was important to me that other people witness and enjoy what I had experienced. So with a small group of Sacred Heart Old Scholars, we set up the first Old Scholars Immersion team and are set to travel to Cambodia for three weeks in January 2020. This is an ongoing program open to Sacred Heart Old Collegians.

More immediately, my close friend and I are in the process of setting up our own charity, Amity. It is designed to empower students in Fiji who cannot afford to attend school. As a much loved tourist destination, the number of Fijian citizens living in poverty is drastically increasing and as a result secondary education is often a luxury for many families in Suva. Therefore, we are aiming to provide sponsorships for students from low economic families who are excelling in their studies or reflect strong community spirit. Community spirit is extremely important to me, something I cherished during my time at SPW.

Ruby’s charity, Amity, that she helped create.

My approach to serving others started at SPW

Despite only being at SPW for two years, I felt a strong sense of belonging and admire the school for the great emphasis it places on serving the community. It is our hope the sponsorships would allow students to continue their education without fear of being withdrawn as a result of their financial situation. We have connections with school leaders in Fiji, and in July we are travelling to Suva, Fiji to meet with teachers, students, and the community to discuss how we can help.

They are the key decision makers in how they want to benefit from the additional donations. We place great emphasis that we are only empowering them to help themselves rather than controlling where the donations are distributed. This makes the charity sustainable. We view them not as ‘people who need to be saved’, but as people capable of developing communities themselves. Our role is to give them additional support.

Without the connections I made at St Peter’s Woodlands, it would not be possible to be where I am today. Amanda Kelly and Alastair Dow have been so generous and helpful in donating school supplies. Alan Young, a grandparent and volunteer at the school, has helped me with his experience and wisdom, and the Year 7 staff are giving me the opportunity to come and talk to their students before their Jumble Sale.

Ruby with the school supplies SPW donated.

Thanks to the ongoing generosity from SPW

During our trip in July, we are bringing over a large amount of school supplies donated by the school after they won the Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon Australia major prize draw in 2019, for which we are extremely grateful for. Amity is still in the very early stages of its development, but thanks to SPW we can take over much needed school supplies for our first trip.

Much like the students at SPW, the children in Fiji have the same dreams to be doctors, journalists, teachers, astronauts, and lawyers, and they are deserving of every chance in the world. With a strong sense of community service at St Peter’s Woodlands, I look forward to keeping the connection going for many years to come.

Thank you to Ruby Fahey, SPW Old Scholar for sharing this amazing story with our community. We wish you well in your endeavours to set up your charity Amity and the ongoing work you do abroad.