Students Throw Support Behind ACRATH

Ave Maria College

Each year hundreds of young women graduate from Ave Maria College in Aberfeldie, Melbourne, knowing about human trafficking and committed to fighting against the terrible injustice. Through their annual fundraising events they have also helped ACRATH run programs and projects to combat slavery. In the past four years the students have raised almost $4000.

Patrick Hogan, the college’s Director of Catholic Identity and Mission, said fundraising initiatives for ACRATH had become a tradition and were led by the college’s Year 11 and 12 Franciscan leaders.

“Women and children are so often the victims of human trafficking and I think the issue really resonates with our girls,” Patrick said.

The girls’ actions are informed by faith formation days held each year. In May ACRATH member Sr Therese Power rsm spoke to Ave Maria’s Year 11 students at the faith formation day at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. Sr Therese told the girls about human trafficking and her work as an ACRATH Companion, supporting victims and survivors of human trafficking to rebuild their lives. She spoke about the human trafficking hidden in plain sight here in Australia.

Patrick said many of the girls listening to Sr Therese were surprised to learn that human trafficking is so widespread.

This year’s event has not yet been planned, but in 2022 the students raised $349 at a choc toss. Senior students generously donated Fairtrade chocolate bars for the operation of the all school fundraiser, which saw students throw a gold coin in a bid to win themselves a chocolate bar.

As well as the choc toss in September, the Year 11 students contributed to the buying of Christmas gifts for children affected by human trafficking. The gifts were given to Sr Therese who is well known to staff and students at Ave Maria.

Patrick said it was important to support ACRATH “because we educate our students to work towards creating a just world. Ave Maria has a strong history based on our Franciscan charism and Gospel values, of working with and supporting those most in need in our society”.