What a stroke of luck – the chance conversation with a man called David, when he asked me about the kind of things I was doing in Vanuatu to “pay it forward in Vanuatu”.
So this is how the story begins. I told David that I had a project in mind, to make chalkboards for Namoru School, in South Santo Vanuatu, after witnessing the state of the only writing tools that some children (pikinini) had at the remote primary school. Building on my ethos about up-cycling and re-purposing, I felt that I all I needed was some left over plywood, some paint, some spare hours in a few days, and then I’d have some boards! Simple? I didn’t know at the time that David was a joiner. He suggested that I contact a well known joinery firm in my home town of Nelson, Cooper Webley, better know for their high-end kitchens than chalkboards, but it was worth a chat.
LONG story short – it goes like this.
I wrote up a proposal to Cooper Webley, asking for the offcuts of plywood to be cut into child-friendly-sized boards. Noel Tait the owner of Cooper Webley immediately said yes, his company could help me out. What a relief, to have someone so keen on the idea. Stage One sorted!
Now for organising the painting of the boards, but I didn’t need to hold my breath!
Next was a phone call from Noel suggesting that he might have some volunteers to sort out the painting for me! What a huge relief that was to hear. Noel put the idea to Whakatu Rotary Club, where he is a member. They obliged. Three Working Bee’s later and the small team of eager volunteers had produced 100 child-sized chalkboards for the gorgeous pikinini at Namoru School, South Santo, Vanuatu.
For the story as it was reported on by The Leader, click here.
More about the journey these boards coming up soon.