Med student speaks from the heart to help launch annual appeal for Caritas

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Fall 16-3-2009

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



Caritas Australia launched their annual appeal Project Compassion at Parliament House in March.

The University of Notre Dame Australia is a strong supporter of Caritas and this year’s launch was attended by a number of staff and students who have participated in an awareness building program over the past three years, visiting countries such as Cambodia, Uganda and India to see first hand how Caritas is helping the ‘poorest of the poor’.

Second year medicine student, Elizabeth Connor, travelled to India with six other students and the Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr Dylan Korczynskyj in 2008. Elizabeth was one of the speakers at the event and shared with the audience her life-changing experiences.

In her speech, she explained that the trip had reinforced for her the value of ‘interactive, hands-on, grass roots assistance’, and the need to instil in people the belief that they have the power to shape their own lives in positive and productive ways.

"It is uncanny that the theme of Project Compassion this year is ‘An Environment to grow in’, because the work we witnessed most definitely promotes and facilitates the establishment of just that; an environment in which the confidence, identity and independence of both individuals and communities can grow and thrive in long-lasting, sustainable ways.”

Also addressing the gathering were Mr Jack de Groot, Head of Caritas Australia; and the Hon Robyn McSweeney MLC, Minister for Child Protection; Community services; Seniors and Volunteering; Women’s Interests.

Dr Dylan Korczynskyj said that Elizabeth was an impressive speaker and great representative of the University.

“Our immersion in India exposed us to the grassroots work that Caritas does to help the poor around the planet. We were blown away by the path that these communities had forged in a relatively short time following assistance by Caritas.

“Adding to this the richness of the Indian culture and warmth of the welcomes we received it was an amazing two weeks. The value to our students from this experience is enormous, undoubtedly reaching into many areas of their thinking and impacting on their lives. This is not something you can achieve from a book or in a classroom!”

Media contact: Michelle Ebbs 08 9433 0610, 0408 959 138