Bernadette Stockman left her role as principal at St Mary’s College, Auckland, in late 2019, but she continues to have a special connection to the college.
When the Covid outbreak upended her plans to volunteer overseas, she opted to pursue a connection the school had made in 2017. Mrs Stock- man decided to support the work of ReliefAid, an organisation founded in New Zealand, one of few worldwide providing humanitarian aid in Syria, and invited St Mary’s to join her.
ReliefAid offered her the opportunity to create an education programme for children in Syria who have no access to schools, toys, or educational material.
“It was shocking to find out that over 2.4 million children in Syria are not in school,” Mrs Stockman said. “This gave me even more motivation to create a programme that would be beneficial to the children right now, and that would help once they returned to schooling.”
So, she created BounceBack4Syria, a project that would provide materials and engage education workers to put in place a resilience-building pro- gramme. BounceBack4Syria provides hula hoops, skipping ropes, soccer balls, and whiteboards, supported with ideas on how to use them to build resilience and their wellbeing.