Development Education Experience Programs


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 who face daily struggles for survival and hear inspiring stories of how they are overcoming their challenges. See their situation. Share their journeys. And learn from those walking alongside them - working for the “kingdom of heaven on earth”.

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 Development Education Experience Programs (DEEP) are exciting, confronting and unforgettable.

DEEP trips range from two to seven weeks.

Go see for yourself!

Upcoming trips:

Click on the links above or the tabs to your right for detailed information about each trip. 

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

It’s one thing to watch a news report of development issues and another thing to be there in person, face to face, sitting amongst resilient and couragous individuals who are working together to overcome extreme poverty.

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. We leave that to the locals.  The main tasks you will be doing on a DEEP with TEAR is taking time out to listen, pray, see and learn about what God is doing through the church in marginalised communities around the world and reflect on how God is calling you to personally respond.

Testimonials from TEAR partners and previous DEEP participants:

From one of TEAR's Cambodian partners who hosted our DEEP team in January 2017: 

"The DEEP team have been an encouragement to all the staff and the village people.  With them being here to see the situation in the villages and to share their experience, have made us feel more connected to the outside world and happy that there are people out there that cares about us."

From previous DEEP participants:

"I have been challenged to appreciate that life for impoverished communities in the Third World is harsh, fragile and vulnerable.  I have also been encouraged by the rays of hope evident in these communities - the contentment when they successfully devise and implement their own solutions, the resilience and courage in overcoming significant barriers and hardship, and a powerful sense of community that binds them together to express a collective voice".  (Simon - 2017 Cambodia DEEP participant)

"One of the most touching, heartbreaking, inspiring, heart-bubbling-over-with-joy experiences I have ever had in my life!" (Jess - 2017 InDEEP participant) 

"It's been a privilege to be part of Cambodia DEEP and to see and hear first hand stories of change as partner organisations walk alongside poor communities in humility and servanthood. The experience is proving to be a paradigm shift for me; it invites change and compels me to explore further how I can join with others to support the poor to find their own possibilities for hope and fullness of life." (Geoff - 2017 Cambodia DEEP participant)

“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 – 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)

Find out more about TEAR's approach to Exposure Trips

Frequently Asked Questions about TEAR's DEEPs are HERE

TEAR is proud to be a member of the Rethink Orphanages Working Group.  

Read more about TEAR's approach to development and exposure trips here: https://www.fortomorrow.org.au/development

Cambodia DEEP : 8-21 January 2018

Come see for yourself!

APPLICATIONS FOR CAMBODIA DEEP HAVE NOW CLOSED 

Express your interest in a similar trip in January 2019 here.

A special opportunity for existing TEAR supporters, volunteers and partner churches to come and see up close the amazing work of TEAR’s partners in Cambodia.

As a TEAR supporter or volunteer, 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 2018 by spending 2 weeks with our Christian partners in Cambodia.

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.  

Dates

Program in country 8-21 January 2018 (14 days)

Cambodia DEEP : 8-21 January 2018

Cambodia Context

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.

Cambodia’s forests and the Indigenous communities dependent on these forests are also under pressure.  Agribusiness plantations and mining operations are cutting away at the forest, including sensitive core areas. Illegal logging for timber, including luxury wood, is rampant, depriving indigenous communities of many of the forest resources they depend on.

Cambodia DEEP : 8-21 January 2018

This DEEP will include:

  • daily devotions and group discussions on issues of faith and development
  • introductory Khmer lessons
  • visits with TEAR partners Peace Bridges, CODO and PNKS (“light of hope”).
  • community visits, storytelling and learning around issues including:
    • conflict and working for peace in the Cambodian context
    • sustainable farming and animal raising (chickens, pigs, cows)
    • 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
  • Travel into Prey Lang Forest, the largest remaining lowland evergreen forest on the Indochinese peninsula and home to approximately 200,000 Indigenous people. Meet with members of the Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN), a grassroots movement that works to preserve Prey Lang forest, and hear how Peace Bridges have helped PLCN members peacefully protect their forest from illegal logging. 
Cambodia DEEP : 8-21 January 2018

Requirements

Applicants for Cambodia DEEP should be:

  • an Australian resident
  • 18 years of age or older
  • already connected to TEAR (for example, an existing TEAR Supporter, Ambassador, TEAR Rep, UG Shop operator, volunteer 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
  • willing to fundraise at least $1000 for TEAR projects in Cambodia prior to going on the DEEP
  • committed to participating in all pre-trip briefing and post-trip debriefing sessions (mix of teleconference and State-based meetings)
  • fit and healthy 

TEAR Australia’s recruitment and selection procedures and checks reflect our commitment to the well-being and protection of children.  All participants will be required to undergo an Australian Federal Police check as part of the selection process.

Warning

This trip is an active program that involves rough and ready excursions in difficult conditions. This trip will involve several hours of travel on bumpy roads on the back of a tractor cart and so participants should not have any pre-existing back or neck conditions.

NB. A pre-trip medical clearance by your GP will be required for all successful applicants.

Cambodia DEEP : 8-21 January 2018

Costs

Approx AUD $1500 for all accommodation, food, local travel, briefing materials and coordination costs. (Exact costs to be confirmed in July)

NOT including flights from Australia, travel insurance, vaccinations, visa and spending money. 

 

Email or call Martine Wilson for any queries: martine.wilson@tear.org.au, 1800 244 986.  

Fundraising

Participation in TEAR’s DEEP trips is a great privilege and opportunity and in return TEAR requests that participants fundraise for TEAR’s projects 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 a DEEP trip, 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.   

Testimonials from 2017 Cambodia DEEP participants

Here is what previous Cambodia DEEP participants had to say about their experience in January 2017:

http://www.fortomorrow.org.au/stories/story/seeing-the-light-of-hope-in-cambodia

http://www.fortomorrow.org.au/stories/story/faces-of-poverty-my-cambodia-deep-experience

"We met many impressive people who dedicated so much time and energy to improving life for their community through involvement in their local Village Development Associations. We saw innovative and creative solutions to the problems of food production and marketing.  Above all, we were inspired by the passion and dedication demonstrated by TEAR's partners as they love and serve the people they work with in Christ's name. We were also challenged to seek out how we might live with the same level of commitment towards our own communities.”

"The talk on the bus back from Poipet [at the end of our DEEP] was of the vast contrasts we've seen as we visited villages and heard stories from TEAR's Cambodian partners. Stories of desperate struggle, grim determination, incredible resilience and survival against the odds. Stories of joy and hope as communities band together to seek solutions to the difficulties they're presented with.  Obviously we'll all be processing what we've learned for months and years to come, but we head home with renewed admiration for the love and dedication shown by organisations like Peace Bridges, PNKS, CODO and CHO, and renewed hope that life can improve for people who have lost so much. We also return with a desire to tell their stories to family, friends and church - anyone who'll listen. And we've promised to hold these people in our hearts, pray for them and give of our material wealth in return for the way they've blessed us."

"It's been a privilege to be part of Cambodia DEEP and to see and hear first hand stories of change as partner organisations walk alongside poor communities in humility and servanthood. The experience is proving to be a paradigm shift for me; it invites change and compels me to explore further how I can join with others to support the poor to find their own possibilities for hope and fullness of life."

"The Cambodia DEEP experience has been truly humbling for me; I have realised just how complex a country is, and that to endeavour to transform it is a huge and brave undertaking. My respect for social workers, NGO’s, community development workers and volunteers has become admiration as i see person after person committing to a country in a way that seems small compared to the need there is, but they won’t give up until their work is finished. One word to describe this trip: Eye-opening!"

"I was absolutely thrilled to see the work that CODO is doing, and the impact it is having, amongst local children and families living in urban slums built over the Black River in Phnom Penh. For me personally, it was wonderful to witness Christianity in action."

And from one of TEAR's Cambodia partners who hosted a visit from the DEEP team: 

"The DEEP team have been an encouragement to all the staff and the village people.  With them being here to see the situation in the villages and to share their experience, have made us feel more connected to the outside world and happy that there are people out there that cares about us."

Nepal DEEP: 22 Jan - 5 Feb 2018

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 Nepal.

APPLICATIONS FOR NEPAL DEEP HAVE NOW CLOSED 

As a TEAR supporter or volunteer, 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 Jan-Feb 2018 by spending 15 days with our Christian partners in Nepal.

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.

Dates

Program in country 22 January - 5 February 2018 (15 days)

Nepal DEEP: 22 Jan - 5 Feb 2018

Nepali Context

Nepal – a land of incredible beauty, ancient traditions and gracious, friendly people.  It’s also a country facing enormous challenges and still recovering from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck in April 2015. In remote villages and crowded urban centres, poor Nepalis struggle to break free from poverty and build secure futures for their families. But TEAR’s Christian partners are working with small grass-roots organisations, communities and churches, to empower Nepalis towards a fullness of life.

Nepal has incredibly diverse geography, starting from the Terai, flat plains bordering India at around 200m elevation, to the majestic Himalaya with peaks over 8,000m. Also, there are over 100 different ethnic groups represented in this small nation. This trip has been designed to give people an experience of some of this diversity, including:

  • Seeing integrated community development work in the mid hill regions north of Kathmandu; and
  • Women's empowerment work on the Terai with people from a range of ethnic groups including the Tharu.
Nepal DEEP: 22 Jan - 5 Feb 2018

This DEEP will include:

  • Daily devotions and group discussions on issues of faith and development
  • Introductory Nepali lessons
  • Visits with TEAR local partners Share and Care Nepal and WACT
  • Some time at Share & Care's training centre on the outskirts of Kathmandu learning from Nepali experts about development challenges and what they have found to be effective ways of empowering communities in Nepal
  • Visits to an area impacted by the earthquake in April 2015.  See and hear stories of recovery and rebuilding after this major disaster
  • A 3-day stay with community members in their own village housing, observing and participating in daily life alongside inspiring Nepalis, learning directly from project participants about changes to their lives through the project, and experiencing the culture and beauty of Nepal well off the beaten track
  • Sharing Christian fellowship with local Nepali church members
  • Community visits, storytelling and learning around issues including:
    • Women’s empowerment, large scale self-help group models and women running agricultural co-operatives
    • grass-roots community led advocacy and village development
    • sustainable farming and income generation development (especially post-earthquake)
    • Water and sanitation
    • Earthquake recovery and community rebuilding post disaster
  • Plus some time to explore Kathmandu, visit Bardia National Park (with the remote chance of spotting a tiger) and hopefully, clouds permitting, gaze at the majestic Himalaya.
Nepal DEEP: 22 Jan - 5 Feb 2018

Requirements:

Applicants for Nepal DEEP should be:

  • an Australian resident
  • 18 years of age or older
  • already connected to TEAR (for example, an existing TEAR Supporter, Ambassador, TEAR Rep, UG Shop operator, volunteer 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
  • willing to fundraise at least $1000 for TEAR projects in Nepal prior to going on the DEEP
  • committed to participating in all pre-trip briefing and post-trip debriefing sessions (mix of teleconference and State-based meetings)
  • fit and healthy 

TEAR Australia’s recruitment and selection procedures and checks reflect our commitment to the well-being and protection of children.  All participants will be required to undergo an Australian Federal Police check as part of the selection process.

Warning

This trip is an active program that involves rough and ready excursions in difficult conditions. In order to reach locations that are away from normal tourist routes, this trip will involve travel for all participants in a 4WD on rough dirt mountain tracks and walking in steep hilly conditions. Participants should have a good level of fitness, respiratory health and not have any pre-existing back, neck or knee conditions. 

NB. A pre-trip medical clearance by your GP will be required for all successful applicants.

Nepal DEEP: 22 Jan - 5 Feb 2018

Costs

Approx AUD $2000-2500 for all accommodation, food, local travel, briefing materials and coordination costs. (Exact costs to be confirmed)

NOT including flights from Australia, travel insurance, vaccinations, visa and spending money. 

Nepal DEEP: 22 Jan - 5 Feb 2018

Interested?

Apply now

Get in quick! Places are limited.

Email or call Martine Wilson for any queries: martine.wilson@tear.org.au, 1800 244 986.

Fundraising

Participation in TEAR’s DEEP trips is a great privilege and opportunity and in return TEAR requests that participants fundraise for TEAR’s projects 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 a DEEP trip, 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-DEEP 2019: India

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 in Jan-Feb 2019

Register your interest

For nearly 30 years, 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.

Interested? Contact us:

Email or call Martine Wilson for any queries: martine.wilson@tear.org.au, 1800 244 986, or express your interest and we'll be in touch.

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

Requirements:

Applicants for InDEEP should be:

  • an Australian resident
  • 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.  

What past participants have said:

“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.”

About EFICOR

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. 

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: martine.wilson@tear.org.au, 1800 244 986

DEEP Stories

Seeing the light of hope in Cambodia: Stories from Cambodia DEEP 2017

Brianna Norman and Simon Miller were both part of TEAR's Cambodia DEEP in January 2017 and share their stories here:

http://www.fortomorrow.org.au/stories/story/seeing-the-light-of-hope-in-cambodia

http://www.fortomorrow.org.au/stories/story/faces-of-poverty-my-cambodia-deep-experience

DEEP Stories




Heartbreak and joy: Stories from my India DEEP experience

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.

Read her story.

DEEP Stories

Joy in the Hidden Places

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.

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

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 http://www.okkawikka.com/artists/KOCA.php
  • Tjabukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, Cairns http://www.tjapukai.com.au/
  • Mossman Gorge Centre—'a new Indigenous eco-tourism development' http://www.tjapukai.com.au/
  • 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

DEEPs FAQs

Can I visit TEAR’s work overseas?

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.

What is a TEAR Exposure Experience like?  Will I be able to “do something” to help those in need?

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.

How many people will be on the DEEP?

Our trips have a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 14 participants.

What sort of accommodation will we have?

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.  You may not have air-conditioning in summer or heating in winter.  In some situations you may be hosted in a family's house in a village. 

What happens if I get sick?

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.

But we can reassure you that 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. 

Do you have any DEEPs for families or teenagers?

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.

Why is TEAR asking me to fundraise as part of the DEEP trip?  Where will the money go?  How do I raise the funds?

Participation in TEAR’s DEEPs is a great privilege and opportunity. We ask all DEEP participants to fundraise for TEAR’s projects in the country of their DEEP trip prior to departure. Fundraising may be a daunting request for many of you considering going on a DEEP, 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.  

What's the most compelling reason to go on a DEEP trip?

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.

How can I justify the money and time?  God wants us to be good stewards of our money, wouldn't it be selfish to go on a DEEP for the sake of exposure when we already have hearts for this stuff?

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. 

More questions?

Please give us a call or email, we’d love to chat with you. 
Martine Wilson, Exposure Experiences Coordinator:
1800 244 986
martine.wilson@tear.org.au

Find out more about TEAR's approach to Exposure Trips

TEAR is proud to be a member of the Rethink Orphanages Working Group.  

Read more about TEAR's approach to development and exposure trips here: https://www.fortomorrow.org.au/development

Discover more

Receive our monthly email news 'TEAR Update', including development insights from our partners, advocacy ideas, and events.

About TEAR

TEAR Australia is a Christian development, relief and advocacy organisation responding to global poverty and injustice. More >

Join the conversation…

#MyFavouriteGift Anyone for fresh raspberries? Here's the amazingly green thumbed @hewson_greg from the TEAR team w… https://t.co/vbVw1FWN0wRead more

Our crew are busy sending Useful Gifts all over Australia! It's your last chance to order today/tomorrow so we can… https://t.co/ZlSFpu4FzgRead more

Thankyou! @UnitingChurchWA 🙌🙏 https://t.co/XkKK6mZqSjRead more