Filipino-Australian Immersion

Hello! Facilitators Sam, Regil and Gail are taking six teenagers from a village in The Philippines all the way to Australia for a 3-week leadership program, including The Magic Moments Youth Summit and we need your help to cover some costs! Thanks heaps for taking the time to check out our page and please read on, share and donate to help make this possible.

- Program Update
- In a Nutshell
- The Team & The Teens
- Australia Trip Itinerary
- Donars & Budget
- The Documentary
- How you can help
- The Extended Story

Immersion Program Update:
The last five months since posting this fundraiser have gone incredibly fast. Thanks so much to everybody for the mountains of support! This particular video below depicts some of the efforts of a process that is quite a tricky one in 'The Peens' - getting yourself out of the country. Our six scholars have persevered and grown so much already and they couldn't be more deserving of the opportunities that await them.

In a Nutshell
(Context, history & plans)

A bunch of money was fundraised and it paid for a village in an effort to move families out of poverty on Bantayan Island in The Philippines. Following that, a team of us started touring Aussie students to the village to volunteer and get another perspective. The students loved it, we loved it, the villagers loved it and now they're our second family. Now we're turning the tables and giving the village teenagers a go at immersing.

We love working with the villagers but we can't be there forever so we want to ensure the village teens can run programs and pass on leadership skills after we're gone. We will be immersing them right into every part of Aussie culture for 3 weeks starting in Melbourne and for the final week of the trip they will be taking part in The Magic Moments Foundation youth summit where they'll be able to learn even more. When all is said and done, we should have six young and confident go-getters that have a better understanding of the world and how to best lead their village into a bright future!

The Team & The Teens

Sam Gaskell along with Daniel Kuzeff has been running volunteer trips to the village for a few years now. Daniel spearheaded the fundraising that paid for the village in 2011 and Sam is now living in it amongst the beneficiaries and documenting the experience.

Cebuanos Regil Cadavos, an event manager and Gail Padayag, a law student are handling the domestic (Philippines) logistics and legal aspects of the project; acquiring visas, passports, birth certificates and so on for the group. Then they're accompanying the group to Australia to be the atte's (Filipino for older sisters)!

Last but not least, the teenagers! Those selected for the trip are the six oldest out of roughly 25 teenagers living in the village and are either in college now or starting in the next 2 years.  Hear more from them in the video below...

Australia Trip Itinerary

The trip! So, we're flying from Cebu to Melbourne and then spending the first few days in Melbourne. We can't mention any of the actual activities here because the teenagers will see this and like all good things, it needs to remain a surprise. After Melbourne we'll be traveling through the home towns of Will (Woodend), Sam (Bendigo) and Daniel (Albury) and spending a few nights in each of their homes, enjoying the activities that country Victoria has to offer whilst visiting the schools in the area whom have visited in the village. We will also be visiting Benella and the group will billet out amongst the families of the FCJ High School students whom have also stayed in the village, before going camping on The Murray! After that we'll visit Mt Hotham for a night before making our way up to Jervis Bay on the east coast for a couple of nights and then onto Sydney to see the Swans and then partake in the MMF youth summit. Then we will go home to Cebu!

Donors & Budget

This idea has been with us for a couple of years now but the wheels really started to turn when The Magic Moments Foundation (an NGO that runs youth leadership summits in Sydney) offered to find sponsorship for the flights and visas for five of the teenagers from the village. Then Natures Harvest came onboard as the financier.

Magic Moments:
Natures Harvest:

So, much of the costs are already covered but we need to raise more especially for the 2 weeks prior to the summit.

Fortunately we have already sourced 90% of our accommodation for free due to good old Australian hospitality - and most of our activities so far have been sourced for free too and a bus & driver for 5 days. The table below shows where this particular fundraising money will be spent...


Flight for 1 extra student: $1035
Passport for 1 extra student: $35
Visa for 1 extra student: $140
(MMF are sponsoring 5 of the 6)

Birth Certificates: $250
(Multiple copies for scholars & parents)

Domestic Trips: $1500
(Pre-program & traveling across provinces for passports & visas)

50% of flights for Reg & Gail: $1035
(Volunteer facilitators)

Airport Immigration fees: $300
Food for 2 weeks: $4500
Petrol for 2 cars (7 days): $400
Petrol for bus: $500
Petty Cash, Margins & Extra Activities: $2500
(based on roughly $180 per day)
Essential winter clothing for 6; $1000
English tutor (Marley) for 6 months preceding the immersion: $700

Magic Moments Foundation program fee for 1 scholar: $1100
(They sponsored 5 out of our 6 scholars)

How you can help:

- Donate your hard earned money!
Any amount is very much appreciated!

- Share on Facebook / Other social media
- Let your community hubs know about it
- Pin this URL up at your local church

- Donate winter clothing: these guys are living below the poverty line and it's hot all year in The Philippines - and we're coming in Winter!

- Please get in contact if there are any other ways that you would like to help support!

The Documentary

Since January, 2013, Sam has been filming a documentary about the lives of the villagers. In the beginning the goal was to shoot only a few snippets of their circumstances but then life happened! The documentary became so much bigger than that, it not only became about poverty alliviation and village life but about the power and the value of education. 

Now we have mountains of content in the box, waiting to be seen by the world! It spans from when we first met the beneficiaries through to when they moved from their shoreline shanty's to the village through to when Aussie schools started coming over and volunteering, through to living in the village for a year and now... to the final chapter, reversing the situation and bringing Filipino teens to Australia! 

A couple of months after the Aus trip is done and dusted, we'll be calling cut on the doco - and then the new task at hand will be editing together the two hour feature film about the story of the village and the program. We hope this can show Aussies, Filipinos and students around the world the value of their education, their vulnerability and of cultivating diverse perspective.

Sam's website

The Extended Story

It all began seven years ago when $180k was raised to build a village for Filipino families living in poverty. This was lead by Daniel Kuzeff with the help of the Albury/Wodonga community and the village was built on land donated by the late Aida Vergara.

Our Connection:

Following the fundraiser, a group of us traveled over to meet the beneficiary families for the first time in January 2013 - this trip changed our lives. We learnt things about the world and ourselves but mainly we were granted another perspective and a new Filo family. It left us wondering… what if we could have experienced this when we were teenagers?? We would have appreciated our education more, thats for sure... and we would be millionaires by now! (Thats not the point of course). So after that trip we decided to tangle ourselves in a new cause; giving that same education of perspective to Aussie teens.

Catholic College Bendigo: High Reel Link

St Mary's Gunnedah: Highlight Reel Link

First we designed the leadership & volunteer program and then our first school jumped on board (Catholic College Bendigo) who still visit the village once per year along with a growing list of other Aussie schools. The village has hosted over a hundred students and teachers thus far, each who has taken and given to the village in different ways, whether it be through continued fundraising to build more houses and other projects or the impression of global connection and hope that they have made on the locals. It’s been an absolute privilege for us, spending our twenties doing this work and it sure as sure wasn't the plan for any of us. Which brings me to my point….

We can’t be here forever and even if we could, the future of the village isn’t our responsibility - it’s theirs! This trip to Australia is our way of enhancing the leadership of the next generation within the village so that they have the absolute best chance to thrive. It’s also a way to finally balance the scales, reverse the travel destination and give the village teens a crack!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read everything and advance thanks for your support, whatever it may be!

- The team

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Sam Gaskell 
West Bendigo VIC
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