Sleepout 4 Schools – well worth the effort

I’ve been meaning to post about the Sleepout 4 Schools event run by the Yr 9 students of Toorak College for the last week, but time keeps running away from me. It’s vitally important that I give it the space it deserves; the students involved worked tirelessly and pulled off a marvellous day to support girl’s education in Kenya and India.

The idea began with a whole day activity where the girls were exposed to ideas about how they could make a difference. They found out about the Bal Ashram in India and their plans to build a girl’s school to help save girl’s from child slavery. They also listened to Mark Lukach when he skyped in from San Francisco and told us about Daraja Academy, a girl’s school in Kenya started by Jason and Jenni Doherty that had just opened its doors two weeks before.

That day sowed the seed and ideas germinated. A  meeting of 30 or so interested students saw them decide on the idea to hold a sleepover at school as a fundraiser for the two schools.

After quite a few weeks of planning the event was held on May 22nd. During the day the girls participated in a Global march into Mt.Eliza to raise awareness about the plight of children forced into child slavery. A neighbouring school, Mt.Eliza Secondary College, joined them and lunchtime shoppers and proprietors of our local shopping centre listened to the girls’ message. It was very well received and the girls felt like they had made an impact.



At 6.00pm the sleepover began. As teachers, we’d been given a running sheet from the girls in the organising committee, but we fully expected that we’d have to step in to get things going. We couldn’t have been more wrong. They were supremely organised. All of the girls, all 54 of them, had paid to sleep over. During the  night they raised money by selling popcorn and lollies and a group of them made friendship bracelets that they sold. Some of them had sought sponsorship from family members and friends to collect after the event.      

At 11.00pm we skyped Mark Lukach in and he talked about the progress of Daraja Academy. He was pretty #stoked (you have to know Mark on Twitter to get that one!) that 54 students had gone  to the effort of getting together to do something good for others. Jason Doherty, the founder of Daraja was the next to skype in. This was Jason’s first ever skype call so it was pretty exciting. He was able to give us a lot of detail about Daraja and how the girls there are faring. Jason extended an invitation to our girls to visit the Academy; who knows, maybe one day we will get there. Jabiz Raisdana then skyped in from Qatar to let us know he was impressed with the effort of our students. It helped to let the girls appreciate the global nature of what it is they are doing.  

It was after 12 midnight by the time we’d finished our calls so you can imagine it took a bit of time to settle to sleep. We were up and at ’em by 7.00am the next day. We still have to get a final total of how much money was raised, but it should be close to the $1,000 dollar mark.  Last Monday two of our students visited a local radio station and spoke eloquently and passionately about what they’ve been doing. 

We are very proud of the efforts of these Yr 9 students. They have a genuine sense of the importance of service unto others, of thinking outside yourself. That’s an important part of being human as far as I’m concerned and school communities can be instrumental in helping our young people to understand this. These students have also gained an understanding of their role as global citizens. They have used technology to connect with the people they want to help; we can’t get to Kenya direct yet but we are hoping to start to write to the girls over there. The girls created a Ning to support the project  because they wanted to reach out to others to try and gather support. We didn’t quite manage that, but there’s always next year!  


Nice work girls. We’re very proud of you all.

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15 Replies to “Sleepout 4 Schools – well worth the effort”

  1. I just wanted to take this time and space to say a heartfelt thank you to all the girls at Toorak College and Jenny Luca, for taking the time, energy, and passion to see a project like this trough. We truly are proud of you!

    I also wanted to let you know that I will be working with YR7-9 students next year and Daraja is our school’s service learning project as well, so while it may be difficult to communicate directly with the girls at Daraja, hopefully our two schools can work together to share ideas, raise awareness, and funds.

    Great first step, I hope this is the beginning of a great relationship between all the parties involved.

    1. I’m sure it will be Jabiz. Our students are keen to keep the momentum going and would love to connect with students from other schools on a common cause. Thanks for your help on the night.

  2. Great job, Year 9’s! I am so proud of how you stepped up to the plate and made a difference. It is a great thing to realize how fortunate we are and to make the world a better place for others.

    Ms Pohanka
    Fredericksburg VA, USA

  3. Another fine example of how small our world has become and how we can indeed make a difference. The girls of Toorak College are truly impressive with their outreach efforts.

    Well done!

    Mr. Cuevas
    Richmond, VA
    St. Christopher’s School

    1. And you and your students are part of that Hiram! Thanks for your support this year. Hopefully we will be able to continue to find ways to bring our students together so that they can learn from one another.

  4. Well done year 9 students and Jenny! This is a wonderful example of the positive use that the web2.0 tools can be put to. Wonderful example of digital citizenship! Great to also see the use of skype to bring in the experts.

    1. @Anne Thank you Anne. You do such wonderful things, it is high praise indeed to have you visit and leave an encouraging message for us. : )

  5. This is terrific. I am so excited to hear of how successful this was. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with your students and am amazed by their drive and creativity to support Daraja Academy. All I can really say is thank you, thank you, thank you for the support!

  6. Congratulations on your successful event. This has been an inspiration to me and I hope to organize something similar in our next school year. I believe it is very important that our students not only learn about others’ needs, but also they can make a difference in helping to meet those needs. Hopefully this will inspire others to do similar things as well.

    Mr. C
    Noel, Missouri

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment Louise and encouraging us. The girls will appreciate knowing you found them to be inspirational. : )

    1. Possible Monique. The Yr 9 group is participating in Global Girl again- perhaps you can have some influence over them : )

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