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VESA’s humanitarian and conservation projects aim to provide direct action support to communities in parts of the world overlooked by traditional charities and aid organisations.

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From the minute you book your trip we provide you with everything you need to know, so you get the most out of your VESA experience. 

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What we’ve achieved

2019 Northern Hemisphere

Fiji Islands

Thank you

Read about our school building, environmental and educational projects in Fiji 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, Benji and Kelsey who have been exceptional team leaders in 2019.

Our Fiji project aims to provide villages with fresh water, restore local school equipment and teach English 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.

Group 1

Korovisilou Village, Ratu Latianara College

Construction Projects – Benji, Brady, Sophie

We began the refurbishment of the Ratu Latianara district school. This school has a primary, middle and high school, with roughly 500 students attending.

Located in a remote area, it has not to be refurbished for 8 years. We will be painting all buildings inside and out and rebuilding water catchment systems and installing composite and rubbish burner

We had some unfavorable weather but the group never complained nor let the rain get to them, everyone perceived and carried on with the job at hand

With a group of 51 volunteers we achieved:

  • sanded walls of the inside classroom of junior school
  • sanded walls of outside of the classroom of junior school
  • undercoated all of the inside classrooms
  • painted inside of classrooms
  • painted outside of classrooms
  • painted poles of outside classroom
  • painted blackboards and cleared out the store room

Ratu Latianara College

Education - Kelsey

We worked with grades 2, 4 and 7 tutoring maths and English as per the teachers’ request to prepare students for their upcoming tests. We also taught lessons about weather or animals/habitats depending on student age.

Some favorite activities among the students were reader’s theater in which grade 2’s acted out a story to work on vocabulary and comprehension, a spelling bee with the grade 4’s and a math facts race with the grade 7’s.

  • Tutored elementary students in math and English
    Taught new information that the volunteers had experience with
    Met with the principal and head teacher about beginning to organize books for a school library

Group 2

Korovisilou Village, Ratu Latianara College

Construction Projects – Benji, Brady, Sophie

At Ratu Latianara school, we moved onto the secondary school buildings which presented a different set of challenges and goals to accomplish.

With such muddy terrain at the back we put planks of wood to walk on and set up ladders which helped with the mud. The volunteers were all very good at not letting small children near the work, plus being the secondary school. there weren’t as many little ones.

We achieved a fully sanded, under coated and top coat painted finish on the full stretch of the building inside and out as well as the outside of the bathroom at the end. There was a library building in the stretch which we rearranged and re ordered as well which I think was a great accomplishment.

  • sanded walls of the inside classroom of high school
  • sanded walls of outside of the classroom of high school
  • undercoated all of the inside classrooms
  • painted inside of classrooms -painted outside of classrooms
  • painted poles of outside classroom
  • painted blackboards -cleared out the store room –
  • cleared out and reorganised the library
  • cleared area for compost bin

Ratu Latianara College

Education - Kelsey

We tutored math and English skills with year 5 and 7 students who were preparing for a nation wide standardized test.

The volunteers read stories to year 1 and 2 students as part of the DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) program the school is trying to start up as a way to try to get students reading at least 20 minutes a day.

We spent many hours in what was to become the library but started out more like a storage room. Volunteers re-shelved and cataloged every book into the correct category based on the Dewey Decimal System.

  • Tutored year 5 and 7’s in math and English
  • Helped implement a reading program at the school to encourage literacy among all students Organized and cataloged books by the Dewey Decimal system to create a useful library for the students as well as the entire village
  • Sorted through old and/or unconstructed computer parts and set up working PC’s for student and teacher use

Group 3

Korovisilou Village, Ratu Latianara College

Construction Projects – Benji, Brady, Sophie

Group three was our last group in Korovisilou village and we had the giant task of finishing the school we started over a month ago.

It was quite a big job  – finishing the middle school and tertiary rooms as well as various other buildings. Korovisilou once again extended their hospitality to us in a way that was second to none – the amount of tears during the leaving ceremony and when departing the village was testimony to this.

Some real praise must be given to members of this group – many stayed late (some every day – Caleb and Brian!) to help us get the work done even though it meant working in the dark and being late to dinner. We couldn’t thank them enough for their tireless work.

  • 2 x incinerator
  • 2 x compost
  • Sanded and painted secondary school
  • Replaced roofing panels

Ratu Latianara College

Education - Kelsey

We worked with kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2 this week, focusing heavily on letter recognition, literacy and reading skills.

Each day volunteers went into the kindergarten classes to work with small groups of students. They used popsicle sticks with the alphabet written on them to help teach letter recognition and sounds as well as short books and animal flash cards.

The students and volunteers went wild with the flash cards with students guessing the names of animals from different places in the world, naming the letter their name started with and finally making their best animal sounds.

With year 1’s and 2’s we used reading buddies (or small group reading for more shy students) to get each student working on reading aloud.

  • Used materials and small groups in kindergarten to teach and reinforce letter recognition and sounds.
  • Introduced students to animals from around the world using flash cards
  • Had reading buddy time with year 1’s and 2’s to get students reading aloud and further developing their reading skills

Group 4

Kalabu Secondary School

Construction Projects – Benji, Brady, Sophie

We had a new village with a new project for our fourth group to start work on. It is a secondary school at Kalabu village which is about 30 minutes from Suva.

There were two main blocks of the secondary school, one being single story the other double story, along with two single classrooms.

We focused on the single story block which consisted of roughly five classrooms as well as both the single classrooms.

The group made great progress and we ended up being able to start the undercoat. Throughout the week the group as a whole maintained positive attitudes and strong work ethics, and smaller details such as skirting and ceiling touch ups went very well as well and 2-3 coats everywhere.

We all visited a near by waterfall as a thanks for their efforts on the last day of work. We also demolished the existing incinerator in preparation for the building of ours. At the end of the work week the land owner provided ginger plants for us to plant.

 

Kalabu Secondary School

Education - Kelsey

We began teaching first aide to year 9 and 10 classes. Volunteers worked in teams of three, rotating through science classes to educate about the effects of plastic in our oceans using posters and information they were prepped with.

  • lessons about different aspects of first aide to year 9 and 10’s
  • conducted science classes about recycling
  • discussed effects of plastic in the ocean and bio-accumulation

Group 5

Kalabu Secondary School

Construction Projects – Benji, Brady, Sophie

For our fifth and final group of the season we had a bit of a challenge in terms of our project.
We were completing a TWO story building block with six classrooms.

We also completed an incinerator, compost and foundations for a water tank. Our method was to have roughly half the team down stairs and half up. Metal poles were double coated in oil paint also blackboards were cleaned and coated in fresh chalkboard paint.

All the volunteers did really well in terms of the quality of work and speed they accomplished it.
They really enjoyed getting down and dirty on the more labor intensive work like the incinerator.

We also managed to paint the inside of the staff room which the teachers were happy with!
Great end of season!

Kalabu Secondary School

Education - Kelsey

We worked with students in years 10, 11 and 12 teaching different facets of first aide through a rotating stations system.

Also worked with a year 11 all girls class in which they were taught mini lessons about hygiene, feminine health, nutrition and water sanitation. All science classes got a presentation about plastics in the ocean and bio-accumulation in marine life.

  • Volunteers taught first aid by rotating student through stations covering what to do for cuts and scrapes, sprains and breaks, what to do if you encounter someone you think is choking or unconscious and lastly a brief CPR instruction.
  • Female volunteers led small groups of students in structured discussion about feminine health, protection, sanitation and nutrition.
  • Volunteers used posters over bio-accumulation, plastics in the ocean and reduce, reuse, recycling to give presentations to all science classes held at the school.