TEAR Australia provides a range of life-changing, grassroots opportunities to explore what it really means to bring "good news to the poor". Meet people whose lives are a daily struggle for survival. See their situation. Hear their stories. Share their journeys. And learn from those walking alongside them - working for the “kingdom of heaven on earth”.
TEAR's Development Education Experience Programs (DEEP) are exciting, confronting and unforgettable.
DEEPs are for those interested in immersing themselves in an experience far from their normal lives, in order to engage in the wider world and come away transformed by the experience.
International DEEP experiences to date have included India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Cambodia and East Africa. Australian DEEP experiences have included Cairns and Central Australia.
DEEP trips range from two to six weeks.
“DEEPs give you the opportunity to explore TEAR projects carried out by TEAR partners. It’s one thing to watch a news report of development issues and another thing to be there in person face to face.
“It’s a short-term learning experience. We’re there to listen to people and observe the way other people are doing things and to understand what they’re doing.
“It’s quite formative, and for some people transformative to move from a minority world to a majority world experience. Where you stand determines what you see, DEEPs gives you the sense of seeing the world differently.” - Dave Andrews
“Going on [In-DEEP] changed my life completely! The world wasn't the same afterwards! I changed a lot of things about the way I lived when I came back to Australia and am still, 4 years on, trying to work out how I live keeping my two-third world neighbours in mind! Highly recommended experience!” (Christel Palmer – DEEP participant)
“I am certain that no intellect, argument, philosophy or idea—no matter how compelling—has restored me, healed me, or filled me as much as Jesus has. They did not take away my anger, hurt and pain. They do not give me peace, joy, hope in a different world or make me want to give my life away to love others. Only God has done and continues to do that. And it is because of this overwhelming sense of joy, along with a shared hurt for the world and love for my friends amongst the poor and those like them that suffer, that I feel compelled to accept God's invitation to be part of His restoring work. This sense of love is far more sustaining and transformative than any work I might do for God off my own strength. I thank all my friends in India, TEAR and the [In-DEEP] crew, and most of all, God, for helping me remember that.” (Ben – DEEP participant)
A special opportunity for existing TEAR supporters and partner churches to come and see up close the amazing work of TEAR’s partners in Cambodia.
As a TEAR supporter, you are an integral part of work to bring good news to the poor through our local partner organisations. We invite you to go DEEPer in your journey of faith and justice this January 2017 by spending 2 weeks with our Christian partners in Cambodia.
Heir to the ancient Khmer Empire, Cambodia endured decades of civil war from the late 1960s through to the early 1990’s. The years between 1975 and 1978 were perhaps Cambodia’s darkest days, when the country was under the murderous rule of the radical communist ‘Khmer Rouge’. Two million people died in the Khmer Rouge’s brutal pursuit of a rural utopia.
Today, Cambodia is relatively stable. The economy is growing on the back of an expanding garment-making industry and increasing tourism. However, as the country has developed economically the gap between rich and poor has grown. Cambodia is still one of the world's poorest countries, with most of the population living in rural villages employed in subsistence farming. In recent years, life for Cambodians living in rural villages has become increasingly difficult as climate change is contributing to increasingly erratic rainfall and associated crop failure.
Travel as part of a small group of TEAR supporters, experience the amazing hospitality of TEAR's partners and project communities, hear stories first-hand from inspiring agents of change and be empowered to respond to issues of poverty, oppression and inequality on returning to Australia.
Numbers are limited and priority will be given to those connected to TEAR and able to demonstrate an ongoing capacity to champion the work of our Christian partners.
Express your interest and we will keep you updated with all of the details, including Application forms. Get in quick! Places are limited.
Applicants for Cambodia DEEP should be:
Internal travel includes all project visits and sightseeing trips to Angkor Wat and around Phnom Penh, but not entry charges to these historical sites.
The costs do not include costs for Visa (USD $30 on arrival), vaccinations or travel insurance which are all required.
Personal experiences, shopping, extra food and dinner on the night of arrival will be extra.
Notes on Airfare:
TEAR has no longer made a group booking through Mission Travel due to changes by Thai airways, but Mission Travel will assist participants to make their own individual bookings, access the best market fare, and hopefully fly together with other participants.
Come on a life-changing journey with TEAR that will stretch and inspire your understanding of faith, poverty and development:
For more than two decades, TEAR Australia’s In-DEEP program has been shaping the hearts and minds of Australian Christians. In-DEEP is not a tour, it is not a course and it is not work experience. In-DEEP is a seven-week immersion in the culture and chaos of India, with the opportunity and privilege of hearing stories of hope and despair first-hand from marginalised families and communities across India.
In-DEEP is a unique opportunity to spend seven weeks living in India learning directly from TEAR's longest standing partner, Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR), about what it looks like to bring "good news to the poor". Inspiring EFICOR staff will be your local hosts, mentors, and facilitate the 7 week program. TEAR staff will attend some of the program and conduct pre-departure briefing and de-briefing on return in Australia.
Applicants for InDEEP should be:
Participation in InDEEP is a great privilege and opportunity and in return TEAR requests that participants sign up to become a TEAR Ambassador, fundraise for TEAR’s projects in India prior to departure and make tangible commitments to be involved in TEAR’s work on return to Australia.
Fundraising may be a daunting request for many of you considering going on InDEEP, but we believe it is an exciting way to get tangibly involved with TEAR’s work and contribute to the transformation of the communities that you will have the privilege to personally visit. It is also designed to encourage you to tell your community about the DEEP and to invite them in to your journey of learning and growing through the DEEP. We will provide you with resources, support, an online fundraising page, tax deductible receipts, regular encouragement and much more to help make this a stress-free and enjoyable process! Fundraising can be done on an individual or group basis too. We’re sure that you will all come up with creative and fun ways to raise even more than you’d planned for TEAR’s amazing projects.
Internal travel includes project visits and sightseeing trips to the Taj Mahal (Agra) and around Delhi, but not entry charges to these sites.
Visa, vaccinations, travel insurance and personal experiences will be extra. You will also need to factor in spending money for shopping, communications, extra food purchases etc.
Lucy Allan participated in TEAR’s In-DEEP program in India at the beginning of last year. 18 months later, we asked Lucy to reflect on this experience – what she learnt, what has stayed with her, and some of the challenges of returning to life in Australia. Read more.
“INDIAA! What an amazing place and what ridiculously amazing people I have met so far. Goodness me I am blessed. I have already learnt so much and it’s only day three.”
“DEEP was the first place that I was introduced to all the different theories and practices of development so I have come to gain a greater appreciation of these. It was also very interesting to learn of the dangers of 'bad' development practice.”
“I've realised that coming in and giving hand outs is not at all helpful, but rather the investment and engagement in sustainable development is what changes generations.”
“I came to understand more deeply that justice is an integral part of Christianity, and that faith without deeds is as good as useless. I have felt very strongly over the past six months a growing awareness of God's heart for justice, and it was amazing to see the fruits of some of this in the field in Chitrakoot.”
“I have never, ever seen poverty or injustice in the way I saw it during this time. I feel like the same person but something inside has been shaken and rattled and I don’t think it’s going back to normal.”
“I now see Christ as more than just a personal saviour and know that his heart was for the poor and oppressed, that we were saved to continue to do his work not just for personal redemption and gain.”
“I encountered incredible numbers of people actively living out the call of Jesus, and trying to be more Jesus-like in their actions, which was incredible.”
“Every single person we have come in contact with through EFICOR is amazing. We are being taught by some outstanding people who know so much and have done so much and been through so much and are such Jesus lovers.”
EFICOR is a leading Indian Christian aid, development and relief organisation that serves the poor, socially excluded and marginalised in situations of poverty, injustice and disaster. EFICOR also works towards influencing the churches in India to address issues of poverty and injustice.
EFICOR has been operating since 1967, running bottom-up, grass-roots projects designed to empower community members with tools, knowledge, confidence and resilience to bring about their own lasting development, across a range of sectors including maternal and child health, HIV & AIDS, disability, agriculture and climate change and urban poverty. The EFICOR staff have an inspiring commitment and sense of calling to work in the most marginalised and socially excluded communities, especially Tribal and Dalit communities.
We would love to chat with you about designing an exposure experience trip for a group from your church, youth group, school or business to go away together and learn from TEAR’s partners and marginalised communities about doing mission in today’s world.
Aimee Nott travelled to India with TEAR on a DEEP Exposure Experience (InDEEP) trip in 2015. She writes that she has learned how best to share about her time in India by telling the stories of the people she met on her trip: stories of sadness and of joy.
Libbie Arnott spent the first seven weeks of 2015 in India participating in TEAR’s In-DEEP program. In-DEEP (formerly known as TWESO) is a seven-week immersion in the lives of marginalised families and communities in India. The brochure says, “In-DEEP may re-shape your faith, change your worldview and create more questions than it can answer, but it is guaranteed to make you think about how you live in God’s world.” Here, Libbie shares with us some personal reflections from one day during her In-DEEP experience. Read on to discover how her world and faith have been turned upside down… Read more.
Lucy Allan participated in TEAR’s In-DEEP program in India at the beginning of last year. 18 months later, we asked Lucy to reflect on this experience – what she learnt, what has stayed with her, and some of the challenges of returning to life in Australia. Read more.
In January 2013, Joanna Lee spent two weeks in Zimbabwe as part of a TEAR DEEP (Development Education Experience Program). Here is a reflection of her journey, which involved visiting TEAR partner projects and learning more about community development and poverty.
As always with time spent in Africa, I struggle to sum it up in a sentence or two. One way would be to give you the trip stats: 14 Aussies, one HUGE bus, 3,500km and four NGOs in 2 weeks! Read more.
Each year, TEAR runs Development Education Experience Programs – small group trips that enable participants to visit our partners’ projects, hear real people’s stories and learn more about community development. Here, Jeff McClintock shares a story from our 2013 BanglaDEEP trip.
As a former owner-builder, my ears pricked up when I heard that some of our BanglaDEEP group would be visiting a working sawmill during our trip. There’s something very appealing about the roar of a huge bandsaw, the smell of sawdust and the sight of freshly sawn slabs of timber.
By all appearances, the sawmill – located at a place called Kotiadi, near Kishoreganj in central Bangladesh – looks just like any number of other sawmills around Bangladesh. Various timbers are milled into sawn timber for furniture making and building materials. However, what is very different about the Kotiadi sawmill is how it is managed... Read more.
In July 2012, a small group of Christians came together to travel to Far North Queensland with TEAR on an exposure trip with a difference. Our Australian Developmental Education Experience Program (DEEP) brings together Indigenous and other Australians to create opportunities for them to talk and share.
Rosamund Dalziell was on the trip and here she shares her reflections. Read more…
When Ian and I signed up for the TEAR Australia DEEP Program in Far North Queensland, we were hoping to meet with Aboriginal people in a different way to before. We had met Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through church and work, but had never visited an Aboriginal community. Because of this, we knew our experience to be quite limited, despite trying to stay informed and to support Aboriginal aspirations for justice and opportunity. And I, for one, felt quite out-of-date. The DEEP Program made it possible for us to visit communities and learn more, in a small group of invited guests.
In preparing for the program, I reflected on previous experiences in meeting Aboriginal people. The first was as a young public service trainee in the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in Canberra. Back in 1977, this was a challenging and busy workplace, where Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal staff worked intensively together on Commonwealth Government programs to improve the circumstances and opportunities of Aboriginal people. Well-known Aboriginal leader Charles Perkins was working there then, and I greatly admired him for his ability, dedication and humour. It was an exciting time, but after three months my training rotation was over and I had to move on.
Open Day at Bimbadeen Aboriginal Training College in Cootamundra was an opportunity to take our children out to meet Aboriginal people. Staff and students were very hospitable, and we all enjoyed the guided tours of the college and farm. Later on, as part of a research project, I read many autobiographies by Aboriginal people, and wrote about some of these remarkable and confronting works. One was by Margaret Tucker, removed from her family as a young girl to spend many tough years at the Cootamundra Girls' Domestic Training School. This later became the site of Bimbadeen, a very different Aboriginal-managed Christian college.
Ian and I arrived in Cairns in June from wintry Canberra to begin the DEEP Program. Our accommodation at Tropicana Lodge went from being a brochure to our simple but comfortable home for the week. It proved to be a multi-layered place, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people stay regularly for training courses, and in the evening enjoy sitting outside their rooms playing the guitar and singing.
In our group for the week were Barbara Deutschmann, our kind and well-organised team leader, Andy Broadbent, our sociable driver (also TEAR WA State Coordinator) with his equally sociable ten-year-old son Tom, and our fellow participants, Lily, Bonnie and Christina, all from Melbourne. Ian and I were the seniors. Bonnie was retired, Lily a nurse, and Christina, a university student in the health field, was about to celebrate her 21st birthday. Add to this our fellow guests at the Lodge, 40 high school students and their teachers from a Sydney Christian school, in Cairns to run a holiday program at Yarrabah Aboriginal community. With such an age range, how did we all get on? Extremely well—it was a lot of fun. The only troublesome noise at night was the wailing of the stone curlews, strange nocturnal birds who roamed the nearby oval.
Our program took us to very different communities. Mona Mona, at the end of a bumpy unsealed road through rainforest, had only about 50 residents, though others came to visit and camp on the land by the river. Established as a Seventh Day Adventist Mission in the early 1900s, Mona Mona had once been a thriving farm run by a self-sufficient community. But it was now lacking many services: electricity, mains water, telephone. Our hosts, Djabugay elder Auntie Rhonda Brim, her husband Andy and other family and community members, live in a cluster of modern houses. We had lunch together, and spent time on the verandah, hearing stories, asking questions, learning how to weave baskets or touring the site with son-in-law Peter. Rhonda and Andy are master weavers, and although not all of us were talented students, it was a special experience.
Our visit to Yarrabah Community, by contrast, took us to a scenic region on the coast, where more than 3000 Aboriginal people live in the Yarrabah shire. The main focus of the community leaders who showed us round—all women—was to improve the health status of the people in their community. They were deeply concerned about mental health issues facing the young people, and about alcohol management. We were shown round the Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre, and later in the week learnt more about the bigger picture when we attended a Cape York Institute seminar on Alcohol Management.
Visits to the Tjabukai Cultural Centre and Mossman Gorge demonstrated successful tourism initiatives by local Aboriginal people, and a guided tour of Cairns from an Aboriginal perspective by Yirrganydji elder Uncle George Skeene was insightful and moving. We also met students and staff of Wontulp College, who impressed us with their commitment, achievements, and hope for the future.
Thanks to the DEEP Program I feel more up-to-date on some issues, in particular the complexities of Alcohol Management Programs in Aboriginal communities. Some experienced Aboriginal leaders shared their views with our group, and answered our questions thoughtfully. We were welcomed into communities and shown where people live, sometimes hearing stories that brought tears to our eyes. I worried about how to behave in a culturally appropriate way, but found the Aboriginal people we met to be warm, accepting and humorous.
Some of the people around my age were also helpful role models. It was impressive to meet Aboriginal people who continued to work hard in political advocacy and social and cultural programs to help their communities, whether or not they had paid jobs to do this. Employment came and went according to the vagaries of government, but the work remained to be done. Being at an uncertain stage in my own working life, this was encouraging.
The time set aside in the DEEP Program for group devotions and reflection was extremely helpful. In this small Christian community of fellow participants, we felt free to relax into heartfelt conversation about the events of the day and our responses, and to explore the bigger issues of equality, justice and cross-cultural relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.
Yes! TEAR’s Christian partners are doing phenomenal work in really difficult places around the world. It is an amazing privilege and opportunity to have the chance to see their work in the flesh and is sure to inspire and challenge you and take you deeper in your faith and justice journey.
But... visiting TEAR’s partners has a real impact on the time they can spend doing their community development work and so the main way that our committed supporters can visit TEAR’s work overseas is through our scheduled Development Education Experience Programs (DEEPs). We negotiate well in advance with our partners what is the best time to visit their work and give them opportunities to shape the structure of the visit so it is a blessing and encouragement to them and their project communities, not just the trip participants.
TEAR’s Exposure Experiences are about going DEEPer in your faith and justice journey. Going DEEPer with TEAR’s partners, seeing their amazing work for yourself, hearing stories of hope and challenge directly from marginalised but resilient communities, and allowing God to speak to you about what it looks like for you to make a response to poverty and injustice in your own context.
TEAR’s DEEPs will NOT require you to build something, paint something, run a children’s program, visit an orphanage, preach a sermon or fix something. The main tasks you will be doing on a DEEP with TEAR are listening, learning, praying and asking God how He is calling you to respond.
Our trips have a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 15 participants.
Accommodation will be the equivalent of 2-3 stars, but will be safe and secure. It will depend on whether you are in a city or village as to what is available. Participants will generally share rooms with 1-2 other participants of the same sex, but married couples will usually be able to have their own room.
TEAR is committed to do all we reasonably can to ensure the health, safety and security of DEEP participants. But it’s important to be aware that DEEPs are active programs and can involve rough and ready excursions in difficult conditions. They are also designed to be personally challenging programs. And they’re usually held in developing countries where there are numerous water-born and food related bugs that can cause Australians to fall sick.
We ask all participants to meet with their GP prior to going on a DEEP to ensure that you are physically and mentally well enough to cope with these conditions and potential stressors and that we do all we can prior to travel to ensure that your health will not be adversely affected by the DEEP. This includes getting the necessary vaccinations, prophylaxis and medicines to take away with you. We also require all participants to take out travel insurance that will cover any costs associated with medical care that you need to access while on a DEEP. Plus you will always be with TEAR staff and/or TEAR partners who will look after you and make sure you can access medical help and supplies to get better quickly if you do fall sick.
We are so encouraged by the large number of young people who are passionate about TEAR’s work and are fundraising and educating their communities about issues of poverty and injustice. It’s amazing! At this stage, our DEEPs are designed for people 18 years or older, but we are willing to consider situations on a case-by-case basis where a parent wants to go on the trip and take a teenager with them. If that is your situation, please email or call us to discuss it.
We are considering whether we can run a DEEP trip specifically for families in the near future, so keep an eye out for that.
Participation in TEAR’s DEEPs is a great privilege and opportunity. This year we are asking InDEEP participants to fundraise for TEAR’s projects in India prior to departure. Fundraising may be a daunting request for many of you considering going on InDEEP, but we believe it is an exciting way to get tangibly involved with TEAR’s work and contribute to the transformation of the communities that you will have the privilege to personally visit. It is also designed to encourage you to tell your community about the DEEP and to invite them in to your journey of learning and growing through the DEEP.
We will provide you with resources, support, an online fundraising page, tax deductible receipts, regular encouragement and much more to help make this a stress-free and enjoyable process! Fundraising can be done on an individual or group basis too. We’re sure that you will all come up with creative and fun ways to raise even more than you’d planned for TEAR’s amazing projects in India.
Response from a previous participant:
The most compelling reason to go on a DEEP trip is because it will stop you feeling apathetic about injustice. Obviously to be interested in the trip you're probably already highly motivated to seek goodness, but a DEEP will kindle within you a deep desire to enact real, meaningful change. You might not immediately feel like it has changed you but from experience I think it did. You will be more inclined to act against the injustice on your doorstep in Australia. I can't concisely put into words why it’s important to go but I encourage anyone thinking about it to just go for it, because it really will change your life.
Response from previous participants:
Honestly, this feels like a very valid concern and I've found this a tough one to wrestle with! From my personal experience I would say that although I was already incredibly passionate about international development and did have a heart for justice, there's no possible replacement for seeing it first-hand. What we saw went far beyond any of my naive assumptions about what poverty was. There's a huge difference between seeing it in a picture and meeting a person who has stories to tell that would exceed your every expectation. Confronting some of these issues face to face will shock you, and upset you, and make you angry in a way I had never before thought possible.
It certainly is a lot of money and it's not a financial commitment to be taken lightly, but it's worth pointing out that the education you receive on InDEEP on every topic from Indian History to Women and the Indian Legal System is quite incredible. It's excellent quality education taught in an intimate manner which you wouldn't get in a classroom in Australia! It's an investment in yourself, your own learning and understanding and your education as well as a chance to further seek out God's heart for justice. It's also an investment in EFICOR and the amazing work that they do. Although it was a large amount I do not for one second regret it, as it is by far the most formative and valuable experience I've ever had.
Please give us a call or email, we’d love to chat with you.
Martine Wilson, Exposure Experiences Coordinator:
1800 244 986
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TEAR Australia is a Christian development, relief and advocacy organisation responding to global poverty and injustice. More >