Batteries will make sure this school trip isn’t flat

By Lachlan Durling

MOAMA Anglican Grammar students are making their way to Cambodia free of charge — well, almost.

Deniliquin residents Jess Smith, Caitlin Ebsworth and Grace Andrews are spending their weekends collecting old batteries from farms around Deniliquin, Mathoura and Bunnaloo to fund the school’s Cambodia Service Trip.

While students raise money for every service trip, it’s this left-of-field idea that has the school community talking.

The trio is being paid for their collection by a South Australian battery recycler, with each tonne having a pricetag between $500-$700.

That money will then contribute to the trip, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.

‘‘Originally we were aiming to get three tonne but we’ve got a lot more — probably about double,’’ Jess said.

‘‘A lot of farmers said they had about 40 batteries on their properties, but when we got there it was about double that,’’ Grace said.

‘‘It’s because they collect them for so many years and think it’s a hassle to bring in — they have a heap out on their property. They have larger batteries from golf carts, machinery and cars,’’ Caitlin said.

The students have also had the help of their families, with siblings and parents lending a hand with collection, the batteries are then stored in the shed of a business near one of the students houses.

School chaplain Tim Bowles said it was an ingenious fundraiser from the trio.

‘‘In the past we’ve had students host high teas, local fetes, Bunnings sausage sizzles, casual clothes days, food and drink sales at school sports days and more,’’ Mr Bowles said.

‘‘But this is ingenious. Myself and another teacher are collecting plastic bottles to be recycled too.’’

The fundraising ideas tie in perfectly with Habitat for Humanity’s focus on sustainability and sustainable community development.

‘‘This year the students will be working with local Cambodian families to build homes for three families, but also learn about Cambodian culture,’’ Mr Bowles said.

‘‘Our hope is that through the experience our students will grow by learning about the cultural diversities and the part they can play in creating a better world.

‘‘We see it as a cultural exchange, rather than just a one-off event.’’

The group is also looking for interested Echuca-Moama people to assist with battery collection recycling. If you are interested, email [email protected] or call the office on 54805900.