Students at RIDBC Alice Betteridge School celebrate Harmony Day

Simra with her 'passport' at RIDBC Alice Betteridge School's Harmony Day, next to decorations from the Sri Lankan display

A group of volunteers from ANZ celebrated Harmony Day with students from the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) Alice Betteridge School, Wednesday 20 March.

Each classroom was decorated to represent a different country, with national cuisine presented in each classroom on the day. 

“We asked our students to choose a country that was significant to them in some way – whether it had a cultural significance to a family, they had travelled there, or where they may have been learning the language in class,” said RIDBC Teacher, Kim McArtney.

“We then prepared for Harmony Day by learning to cook national dishes and in preparing the craft that would decorate each room. On the day each child received a passport and then, with the support of families and the ANZ volunteers, we visited each of the classrooms in turn to get the passports stamped.” 

RIDBC Alice Betteridge School caters for students who have a significant vision or hearing loss as well as a level of intellectual impairment. Harmony Day provided these students with the opportunity to learn through hands on experience.

“The day provided many sensory experiences that support our students to learn language in context,” said Kim. “Food plays a particularly important role in this as it allows students to touch, smell and taste. Learning about different cultures also reinforces the part a student plays in the broader school community, which is important to their sense of belonging. The day also provided a lovely, informal opportunity for families to feel part of that community as well.” 

ANZ volunteers supported the activities throughout the day.

“This was our team's first time volunteering with RIDBC Alice Betteridge School. It was an incredibly rewarding experience and a privilege to support the students, parents and teachers in celebrating Harmony Day,” said Manager Debt Structuring & Acquisition Finance, Global Loans, ANZ, Brook Crocker.

RIDBC is Australia’s largest provider of services for children with hearing or vision loss, assisting thousands of children a year across Australia