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Bond graduate extends helping hand to Kenya

Bond University graduate Stephanie Ribeiro-Smith is taking her tourism and hospitality skills from the classroom to Kenya - with a mission to raise $50,000 for a safe house for orphans, HIV patients, the disabled and homeless.

Ms Ribeiro-Smith, who graduated from Bond University with a degree in Tourism and Hospitality last week, is headed to Kenya for a six week trip to help transform the lives of some of the most needy and vulnerable people in the communities she will be working in.

As past Vice President of the Bond University Enactus Club - a group dedicated to social reform - Ms Ribeiro-Smith has always had a passion for helping the less fortunate, and is looking forward to using her skills to make a difference.

"A lot of people think that a tourism degree is a pathway to travel to exotic locations and sight-see, but I'm doing this because it will be an enriching experience for me as well as the people that I am able to help," she said.

"Growing up in Brazil,  I always saw the contradiction of some people having so much while others had so little -  sometimes not even enough food  for the day. I always believed that if the most fortunate ones did even a little bit to help those  in need, it would be enough to make a difference in our society.

"I will be visiting a variety of communities in Kenya and adopting a hands-on role in assisting and educating people from different age groups and cultural backgrounds. It is by living and learning from those different groups that I will put into practice the skills I learned from my tourism and hospitality degree.

"My main focus for this trip will be to visit the community where I am hoping to help build a safe house to give shelter to up to 50 disadvantaged people, so they can access the care and attention they need.

"I know this trip will be a great platform for me to build a career from when I return to Australia by combining my passions for travel, learning  and helping others."

Executive Dean of Bond University’s Bond Business School, Professor Mark Hirst said it was encouraging to see students like Stephanie applying their skills to solve social issues.

"Stephanie joins a growing list of Bond alumni who have chosen to take up volunteer work or non-traditional roles in their chosen field to expand their own horizons while also improving the lives of others," he said.

"It's a great example of the kind of culture we have here at Bond, and the opportunities our students are able to access on completion of their degree through academic contacts, professional networks and their own alumni connections."

To help Stephanie reach her fundraising goal, please visit http://www.gofundme.com/Koguta-Project

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