A Youth Grant Can Take You on an Adventure of a Lifetime like Sarah’s Borneo World Challenge!

If you are deaf or hard of hearing and 15 – 23 years old, you can apply now for a grant of up to $2,500 to help you achieve a personal goal or project. Deaf Children Australia wants to help you dream big!

Applications for 2016 Youth Grants are now closed. All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application as soon as possible.

Sarah’s World Challenge

Girl with red hair smiling at camera. She wears a black t shirt, mirrored sunglasses and bucket hat. A jungle track is visible in the background.

Sarah on her big trek

Sixteen year old Sarah Keenan applied for a Youth Grant in 2015 and had a brilliant experience on a World Challenge expedition to Borneo.

Sarah told us recently how she was part of a team of 12 students with two leaders who spent four weeks in Borneo from November to December, where they completed a challenging acclimatisation trek in the Malaysian Alps, a rewarding community based project and a final four day trek.

Sarah says, “We all put in the time and energy necessary to plan and deliver our goal, including building half a volleyball court. We spent five days mixing water, sand and concrete and making the court. We had to carry water from the river to the court to mix with the sand and concrete. It even dried in time, which is fantastic considering it was wet season in Borneo.

The trek was successful! It was hard but it felt great when we all walked out of the jungle (thank goodness no more leeches!) There was a downside, we had to walk on the road for two hours before we made it back to our homestay (bario). It was the greatest feeling knowing that we had achieved one of the hardest challenges on our trip. I would do all of this again if I had a chance.

I have gained lots of confidence through the trip! I also gained a better understanding of human nature. I have gained an appreciation for our way of life, that the little things can make a big difference to a small village or a family or a little boy. For example, we gave a football to a little kid name Steve Junior to play with, but he didn’t know what footy was so we spent about two hours playing with him! He was so interested in how the football worked.

‘I have learnt being deaf does not hold you back’

Picture of orangutan sitting atop wooden structure. The surrounding area is green.

Seeing orangutans was a highlight of the trip

As this was my first overseas trip, I have gained a different perspective of me; there were lots of challenges during this trip. Starting with my bag not arriving from KL, with my spare processor, waterproof kits, de-humidifier and batteries, (it did arrive the next day) to my processor packing it in a week from home, after white water rafting. I have learnt that being deaf doesn’t hold me back from doing anything!

When we went white water rafting, I had all of my waterproof piece on, but when we had finished white water rafting, we headed for lunch and I pulled apart my cochlear to put it back to normal and it stopped working and we had zip wiring next. I was really upset that I couldn’t hear and people were saying that we can go back to the hotel and try to fix it but I said no, we need to do the zip wire! So we did!

My whole group was really caring and looked out for me, my teacher was writing instructions on a piece of paper as none of them knew how to sign but they were making sure that I was part of it. It was actually quite nice not hearing any sound and just seeing the view was amazing! So that is how I learnt being deaf does not hold you back and that your friends will be there for you. The challenges and my ability to overcome them have given me a greater sense of independence.

I have learnt to stand up and say what you want to say, to have an opinion and own it and put 110% of my effort and energy into everything to make things go smoothly. I have learnt how to solve an issue/problem by taking time to figure it out and talking to each other and making sure that everyone who wants to say is heard and making compromises to working it out. I learnt how to work as a team very well and that communication is the key. I explained to my team if they wanted to talk to me, they needed to look at me and they did very well at communicating to me.

Participating in this project has taught me planning, and fundraising techniques, and the ability to work as a part of a team. And that I can be successful. Putting this on my resume when I go to apply for jobs will show future employers that I have these skills. It has given me a dream to go overseas and help countries that are suffering from poverty and I would like to learn their culture and be part of their community. It has given me the drive and confidence to know that being deaf is part of me, but with care and compassion I can achieve my goals, and I am now able to communicate this to others in the future, as I did with my team.”

If you, like Sarah, want to pursue your dream with the help of DCA’s Youth Grants, go to our Youth Grants page for more information.

Translate »