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Read about our school building, environmental and educational projects in Fiji this summer and the achievements of both our VESA staff and all the wonderful people who have assisted during the season. And a special thank you to Sophie, Brady and Ashley who have been exceptional team leaders in 2019 - 2020.
Our Fiji project aims to help villages improve their access to water, restore local school equipment and tutoring and programs from English to Maths and other vital skills to primary school children.
Your village home stay allowed you to experience daily life like the locals.
The infrastructure projects saw you working right alongside the locals and VESA team to construct composts and incinerators for the village, ensuring that the schoolyard and surrounding buildings were left clean and safe, and depending on the requirements of the village, installing rain tanks to supply fresh, clean running water.
School Infrastructure Project – Brady and Sophie
A beautiful village right beside the sea
The stunning village of Naidiri where we had our homestay was right by the ocean, and had so many beautiful animals such horses, cows, goats, pigs, cats and dogs. How lucky were we!
Group one was the first to attend the work site at Malomalo primary school and Naidiri Village. The aim this season was to completely refurbish the school to improve the amenities and learning environment for the student. We were a small group but accomplished everything we set out to do, restoring and painting the outside of one buildings and one side of the second.
The hard work shown throughout the volunteering week was incredible and the camaraderie the group showed really made a difference.
Staying in the beautiful Naidiri village was a rare treat for the volunteers as we had several experiences not common to the program – firstly living at a beach-side village which allowed us to swim every day post work, and secondly eating breakfast and dinner in the hall as a group.
There was great group bonding and friendships formed. We enjoyed nightly activities in the hall with the villagers like Fijian lessons and traditional weaving tutorials.
Education – Ashley
End of year celebrations
We arrived at the beautiful school of Malomalo two days before their summer break, so we had untraditional educational lessons with the children of the two nearby villages (Malomalo Village and Naidiri Village).
We helped the children from year 1 prepare a choreography for their prize giving ceremony to which we were all invited to assist and perform with the children of year 1- what a great event it was to be part of.
The day of the ceremony, we had a rubbish clean up at the school and we took this opportunity to help the children define and differentiate rubbish, recycling and compost. Although the school does not have a recycling system, the children loved the idea of “use it twice”. We tied this in with our arts and crafts activity by using recycled items.
The rest of the week was a delightful surprise as more children came to school day after day to participate in our activities although it was officially their summer break. We made sure to mix in some fun games as we worked on some more educational aspects (we played a lot of trivia and the children’s favourite “categories”!).
Our week of volunteering was absolutely amazing. We shared laughs, smiles, and knowledge (the children even taught some Fijian!) Massive thank you to each volunteer for their dedication and kindness during education.
Construction Projects – Brady and Sophie
Camaraderie and friendship at Naidiri Village
December saw us return Malomalo primary school and Naidiri Village, and being a large group we accomplished the task of completing the refurbishment of the, three and a half buildings and bus stop.
The toilet block and poles leading the block got a lick of lilac love too. We set out to complete the housing for the school incinerator, a composting system and we fixed up their old broken guttering and replaced it with fresh new guttering. All the work was completed to a standard everyone was happy with.
The hard work shown throughout the volunteering week was incredible and the camaraderie the group showed really made a difference, they pulled each other through.
Again, staying in the beach-side village of Naidiri allowed us to swim every day after work and eat our meals in the hall as a group. This allowed for great group bonding and friendships to be formed. Because the group was so close, we were able to have nightly activities in the hall with the villagers, spending quality time with the families. The adventure week was well deserved after several 10-hour days and everyone enjoyed snorkelling, scuba diving and caving.
Education – Ashley
Summer School for Fiji children
We had such a great time with the children, and it was such a delightful surprise to have so many of them come to the school to participate in educational activities, even though they were all on their summer break.
During the week, we went over and practiced a lot of the things the children had learned with our previous group, through different educational games or creative visual learning methods. We introduced some new things to them and practiced it with different activities, such crosswords, drawing, painting, “hot potato game” and some stem learning activities.
We also spent a bit of time practicing mathematics through some visual games. We discussed the steps of hand washing and the Fiji guide of healthy eating with food groups.
Geography was something we practiced a lot, because the children absolutely love it; whether it is a country’s location on the map, their flag, animals, language or even continents and oceans (which they all know by heart now – so proud of them!).
We also had a little presentation day in groups, where the children told us about what they want to be when they are older and why. Finally, we ended the week with a treasure hunt getting all the children involved, sharing lots of laughter, smiles and kindness.
Construction Projects – Brady and Sophie
“You have BRAINS in your HEAD. You have FEET in your SHOES. You can STEER yourself any DIRECTION you CHOOSE.”
We had the challenging task of the refurbishment of a whole primary school.
In the space of five working days we managed to finish the whole upper school building, including the bathroom block which desperately needed a hand. Without the long hours spent sanding, painting and removing the many layers of paint from the walls the school could not have completed.
As well as providing new guttering, a composting system, the water stations all have a fresh look as well as the stairs leading up to the school have a motivational Dr Suess quote from two of our talented volunteers that reads “You have BRAINS in your HEAD. You have FEET in your SHOES. You can STEER Yourself any DIRECTION you CHOOSE.”
To revamp and construct all of this creates an inviting environment for the students and the community.
Living at a river-side village allowed us to swim every day after work, and we were invited to a nearby village to celebrate the last day of New Years.
Education – Ashley
From the solar system to recycling bins
The education part of our volunteer week was a little different because we worked with the children of the village Nawamagi at their hall in the morning and then after teatime, we worked with a few kids that lived next to the school. It was such a delightful surprise to have so many of them come participate in some educational activities, although they were all on their summer break.
We played some rugby and on the last day with the children, we used empty paint buckets to make recycling bins for their hall. A big thank you to every single volunteer for participating in everything, with so much energy, dedication and playful spirits. Working with different groups of children mixed in age is not always the easiest but everyone was absolutely amazing and helped put so many smiles on the children’s faces. It was a delight to be part of.