Published on: 29 May 2014

Last week, members of the Senior School’s Amnesty Club heard firsthand how their weekly letter writing sessions helped change people’s lives. The co-curricular club, which has been running at Christ Church since 2005, has written thousands of letters in support of human rights.

Andrew Beaton, the School Outreach Co-ordinator for Amnesty International in WA, met with boys to give them an overview of the work Amnesty does around the world and of some of its current human rights campaigns the club could be involved in.

Club co-ordinator Lia de Sousa said the boys were blown away to learn that roughly 30,000 lives have been saved, or bettered, as a result of letter writing campaigns since Amnesty’s founding in 1961.

Andrew also brought along Raju, a Nepalese man currently studying in WA, who 10 years ago was a university student fighting for democracy in his home country. Raju said his support of an opposition party led to his imprisonment for almost two years by the ruling majority. During this time, he was tortured and his family were not informed of where he was or what charges had been laid against him.

Raju told the boys he owed his life to an Amnesty letter writing campaign urging the authorities to release him. “Having him speak to the students was a real privilege and a concrete example that our letter writing can have real impact on individual lives,” Ms de Sousa said.

The Amnesty Club, which meets every Thursday at lunchtime in the Senior Library, welcomes all new members.