Year 6 Japanese Language Leaders Wyn Hughes and Lily Turner, and Julie Campbell, Head of Japanese at Cornish College, presenting a card to Miranda Wells, Learning Experiences Manager at the Healesville Sanctuary.

On Monday 7 December, we were delighted to present a cheque to the Healesville Sanctuary on behalf of Chiben, our sister school located in Wakayama, Japan. The donation is the result of a fundraiser led by a Year 4 Chiben student, who was inspired to help rehabilitate injured koalas.

After watching a documentary about the devastation the bushfires had on Australian wildlife after the summer bushfires, Year 4 student, Soichiro Kishimoto, was eager to help out. The fundraiser amassed an incredible $4,743.08 through donations from Chiben students and their families and reflects the compassion and kindness of the Chiben school community and their special relationship with Cornish.

Soichiro Kishimoto

Each year, Year 6 Chiben students visit Cornish College to participate in a Day of Friendship. This is a highlight for Years 5 and 6 Cornish students, as they host a Japanese buddy for the day. Chiben students were hoping to bring the donation to Australia in February, but were, unfortunately, unable to visit this year. Instead, students took part in the event virtually, with a focus on supporting the koala fundraising efforts.

Julie Campbell, Head of Japanese at Cornish College, said the support shown by the Chiben community highlights the strong connection between the two schools.

“The relationship we have with Chiben is so much more than a one-day annual sister-school visit. Their generosity in raising money to protect the Australian koalas affected by the bushfires is an incredible contribution and shows how much they value our relationship and their experiences in Australia.

“We’re incredibly grateful for their support and hope the students can come to Australia soon and see the positive difference they have made for these koalas.”

The relationship Cornish has developed with Chiben goes back almost 30 years. During this time, many visits and student exchanges have occurred, offering Japanese Language students a fantastic opportunity to experience Japanese culture and practise their skills.

The Day of Friendship will take place again in 2021, virtually, with hopes to further incorporate wildlife conservation activities into the agenda.