Development Education Experience Programs

DEEP trip - Express your interest

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.

Go see for yourself!

Upcoming trips:

  • India DEEP ('InDEEP') – 6 January - 24 February 2017
  • Cambodia DEEP – 2 Weeks in January 2017 (dates TBC)

If these DEEPs are not for you, let us know what you're looking for.

“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)

Cambodia DEEP – Jan 2017

Cambodia DEEP (2 weeks in January 2017 – dates TBC)

Come see for yourself!

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.

Cambodia DEEP – Jan 2017

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.

This DEEP will include:

  • daily devotions and group discussions on issues of faith and development
  • visits with TEAR partners Peace Bridges, PNKS (“light of hope”) and Cambodian Hope Organisation.
  • community visits, storytelling and learning around issues including:
    • conflict and working for peace in the Cambodian context
    • sustainable farming and animal raising (ducks, cows, even frogs!)
    • child rights (child labour, trafficking, alternatives to orphanages)
    • garment production (fair trade, labour rights etc.)
    • grass-roots community led advocacy and village development
    • urban poverty
    • introductory Khmer lessons
    • a Visit to the Angkor ruins, Siem Reap

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.  


Applicants for Cambodia DEEP should be:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • an existing TEAR Supporter, Ambassador, TEAR Rep or member of a TEAR Group or TEAR church partner
  • willing to live and travel simply in a cross-cultural situation;
  • ready to listen, learn and contribute positively to in a small group environment
  • willing to assist TEAR with our educational work after returning


Express your interest and we will keep you updated with all of the details, including Application forms. Get in quick! Places are limited. 

Applications due by 1 September 2016. 

Email or call Martine Wilson for any queries:, 1800 244 986.  


Details to be advised by end of May 2016.

More information

Read more about the Cambodian projects you could visit on this DEEP.

In-DEEP 2017: India

Please contact Martine – if you have any questions about the application process or about InDEEP specifically. 

DEEP trip - Express your interest

Come on a life-changing journey with TEAR that will stretch and inspire your understanding of faith, poverty and development.

India DEEP (‘InDEEP’) – 7 weeks: 6 Jan – 24 Feb 2017

For more than two decades now, TEAR Australia’s In-DEEP program has been shaping the hearts and minds of Australian Christians.

“No, you will not be going swimming with sharks in the deep blue sea, although it may be just as confronting!” (previous participant)

In-DEEP 2017: India

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.

Testimonials from previous participants:

“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.”

Program details:

  • Daily devotions
  • Introductory Hindi classes
  • Lectures and group discussions led by prominent Indian academics, theologians and EFICOR senior management (Kennedy Dhanabalan, Kuki Rokhum, Ramesh Babu) on topics including:
    • Overview of Wholistic Mission in India
    • Political and economic structures in India
    • An Indian Christian perspective for involvement with the poor and marginalised (CB Samuel)
    • Indigenous groups in India, Dalits and their struggles
    • Gender issues and the condition of women in India
    • HIV&Aids in India
    • Urban poverty, including a project visit to an urban slum
    • Rights-based approaches to development in India, working with the Government
  • 2 and a half weeks of project visits to some of the most marginalised communities across India, sitting and hearing stories of hope and change first-hand, and seeing for yourself the amazing transformation God is bringing through sacrificial Indian Christians.
  • Visit to the Taj Mahal, Agra
  • Time to debrief, reflect on your learnings, pray and develop a personal response to issues of poverty, oppression and injustice and what that might look like for you when you return to Australia
  • A well-supported briefing and de-briefing process with experienced TEAR staff in Australia


Applicants for InDEEP should be:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • willing to live and travel simply in a cross-cultural situation
  • ready to listen, learn and contribute positively to a small group environment
  • prepared to commit to in-depth study during the DEEP, as well as pre-trip reading and preparation
  • willing to fundraise at least $1000 for TEAR projects in India prior to going on InDEEP
  • willing to become a TEAR Ambassador and assist TEAR with our educational work on return

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.  


  • InDEEP 7 week program in country (includes all meals, accommodation, study materials and internal travel):  $3500   (This figure may be reduced down depending on the number of participants)
  • TEAR Coordination Costs: $350  (This is required to be paid as a non-refundable deposit if your application is successful)
  • Airfare (make your own booking, after consultation with TEAR): $1500 approx
  • TOTAL (AUD): $5350 approx.

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.  


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. 


Express your interest and we will keep you updated with all of the details, including Application forms. Get in quick! Places are limited. 

Applications due by 1 September 2016. 

Email or call Martine Wilson for any queries:, 1800 244 986.  

Read more about InDEEP and EFICOR’s work:

Specific Group Trip

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.  

Contact Martine Wilson:, 1800 244 986

DEEP Stories

India DEEP: Glimpses of the kingdom

In January, Tom Delaney was one of a small group of Australians who were part of TEAR’s annual IN-DEEP. IN-DEEP is a seven-week immersion Development Education Experience Program (DEEP) in India which involves learning, biblical reflection, project visits, and opportunities to discover just how incredible India really is.

Here, Tom, who unlike many DEEP participants has actually spent most of his life in India, shares his reflection on what he learned, experienced and came away with from this pivotal journey. Read more.

DEEP Stories

Fleeing the Hungry Months

In many parts of Nepal, June to August are known as “Hungry Months”. No matter how hard families farm their land, they run out of food before the next harvest. One solution, for those that can, is to leave the food for others and try their luck finding work in India. They might even be able to bring some money back home.

Around 50,000 people leave Nepal every month. That’s the MCG or Homebush Stadium every two months! On a recent trip to Nepal, as part of a TEAR DEEP (Development Education Experience Program), I could see it happening on the road in front of me. As we sat on plastic chairs in front of an open roller-door on the border crossing at Nepalgunj, Banke District, we saw buses, trucks, horse carts and rickshaws loaded with people moving down the road. Just metres away, the border swarmed with people and 100 km away, Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, India beckoned.

Here, at the border crossing, three earnest women and an equally animated young man are busy working to help those making this journey to navigate the dangers of migration. They work for TEAR’s partner International Nepal Fellowship (INF), at its Migrant Counselling Centre. Read more.

DEEP Stories

Journey to Zimbabwe

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.

DEEP Stories

Building Community in Bangladesh

Jeff McClintock shares a story from our a 2013 BanglaDEEP trip about a project run by TEAR’s partner Prottasha.

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 time with TEAR’s partner Prottasha. 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.

DEEP Stories

A Journey to Far North Queensland

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.

Further reading—some suggestions

  • About rainforest basket-weaving
  • Tjabukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, Cairns
  • Mossman Gorge Centre—'a new Indigenous eco-tourism development'
  • George Skeene. Two cultures: children from the Aboriginal camps and reserves in Cairns City: an autobiography: the life of George Skeene. The Rams Skull Press, Kuranda, Queensland, 2008.
  • Ruby Langford (Ginibi). Don't Take Your Love to Town. University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Queensland, 2007. (1st Publ. 1988)
  • Sally Morgan. My Place. Fremantle Arts Centre Press, Fremantle, Western Australia, 2008. (1st Publ. 1987)
  • Charles Perkins. A Bastard Like Me. Ure Smith, Sydney, 1975.
  • Peter Read. Charles Perkins: A Biography. Ringwood, Victoria, 1990.
  • Ella Simon. Through My Eyes. Collins Dove, Blackburn, Victoria, 1987. (1st publ. 1978, other editions available)
  • Margaret Tucker. If Everyone Cared. Grosvenor Books, Melbourne, 1983. (1st publ. 1977)
DEEP Stories

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