When visiting Namoru this year, Johnas, the student who is being sponsored through Agricultural College by Lav Kokonas, took me on a “tour” of the village, including a wander through the school. The Head Teacher, Vincent (francophone – French speaking, and I am NOT) was there and he showed me with pride the sparsely resourced school. Recent donations had been a large number of books donated from a school in New Caledonia – but there was no shelving to store the books. Desks, tables and chairs were in bad repair. Small blackboards which the children use instead of books (they can’t be recycled like a blackboard and besides the cost of buying multiple books to write in is not always affordable for families) were sadly in a bad state. Another of my “aha moments” was sparked.
Part One of that “aha” has materialised. With the kind help of Pacific Pathways of Christchurch and the Ministry of Education in Sanma Province, Vanuatu – 20 desks and chairs from New Zealand have now been re-homed in Namoru Primary School. What a difference this will make in this remote village.
Blackboards are my next mission. I spoke with Vincent today – he understands English well so despite the difficult line into the remote village, I was able to explain myself well enough for him to understand my idea. If Lav Kokonas can source blackboards in New Zealand, would they be useful for the school? The answer, not surprisingly, was yes.
And now Project Blackboard commences. My intention is to have some sheets of recyclable plywood donated, cut to size and sanded by volunteers and painted by February 2015 so that they can be included in an early 2015 shipment to Santo. With 120 students to be registered at the school next year – that’s a lot of blackboards, but an achievable goal and one that will help us to “pay it forward in Vanuatu”.
Watch this space and if you are keen to help with this little project, get in contact with me. We will need chalk to be donated to accompany the blackboards.