This recently completed project involved sending A$6000 to the Rotary Club of Taveuni to disburse via their existing School Assistance Project (Secondary Student Scholarship Project) to supply school supplies to students in need as a result of financial hardship caused by Cyclone Yasa (December 2020) and Cyclone Anna (January 2021), and more recently the COVID pandemic.
The Rotary Club of Wandin applied and was approved for a Foundation Grant to cover half the cost of this project. The Rotary Clubs of Wandin and Boronia each supplied one quarter of the remaining monies necessary. Wandin Rotary raised money via a film night screening the latest James Bond film; a great night was enjoyed by the many Rotarians and Friends attending. Boronia Rotary sought a number of public donations and conducted Club events to raise the money.
Forty families were chosen as beneficiaries of this part of the overall project. Each family had to complete an application form, attend an in-person interview, supply evidence of past school achievements and basically agree to support their child in the coming year of study. Each child agreed to attend school and do their very best to make the Rotary contribution worthwhile.
The local school Head Teachers and staff provided the Rotary Club with general information about students and family needs as part of the selection process. The most needy were identified by their local schools and reported to the Rotary Club for consideration for assistance.
It is recognised by many worldwide relief and support organisations that EDUCATION is the only sustainable way to overcome and escape poverty in third world countries with their very rural subsistence living conditions. The benefits of this project are that some 40 children will receive a secondary year of education in 2022 and thus commence and continue their path to a better future.
Cyclone Yasa (December 2020) and Cyclone Anna (January 2021) devastated the food and Kava crops on Taveuni Island; as a consequence, the income of the farming families was reduced to ZERO. The selling of food and Kava returns cash to the island, thereby providing families with the ability to live and send their children to school. Of particular note is Secondary School where uniforms and materials must be provided by the families or the student cannot attend.
A small amount of cash continued to come into the island from family members working in hospitality roles on the main island Viti Levu. However, following on the heal of the cyclones, the COVID pandemic struck the islands. In response, Fiji closed its borders and the need for hospitality workers ceased. Family members from the outer islands were thus out of work and the only way to survive was to quickly return to Taveuni island and live with their families; again, no cash was coming in.
The next shock was schools closing for the best part of 2021. Many of the larger schools were converted into quarantine facilities for those returning to Taveuni. As a consequence, 2021 was the “year from hell” for school children on Taveuni. No facilities exist for remote learning and the year passed with little to no ability to facilitate student learning. The support project was delayed whilst Rotary ensured that once learning commenced the right students had the assistance they needed to be able to continue.
The good news is that on 11th April 2022 all schools on Taveuni Island commenced their 2022 year. Rotary has thus been able to finalise the project and 40 recipients have returned to school as planned, albeit some 12 months later that we would have liked. COVID did delay the project but the expected results have now been fully achieved.
The photos show three very happy students and a very happy Mum collecting some of their materials for the new school year.
Ongoing Taveuni Island School Assistance Project
Following three cyclones and now COVID restrictions and infections, the families on Taveuni Island are struggling with loss of family incomes. It is a real crisis for many families to afford to send their children to secondary school, to afford the cost for books and uniforms, etc.
To assist them we are raising money for the ongoing Taveuni Island School Assistance Project; 2022 is now set but 2023 is looking very short of funds as the needs are continuing.
Donate here if you wish to support any of the Rotary Club of Boronia Fiji Projects, including the School Assistance Project (Donations are Tax Deductible).