Fiji Kindergarten appeal

Background information

Whole villages were flattened when Cyclone Winston struck Fiji in February this year. Amongst the buildings destroyed or seriously damaged were about 100 kindergartens. As I had previously lived in Fiji for many years, working on AusAID-funded early childhood education programmes, this disaster had a personal impact. We had worked with many of these teachers and resourced many of their kindergartens.  

Cyclone Winston destroyed so much, but not the remarkable tenacity and commitment of the kindergarten teachers. They are continuing their good work with the young children of Fiji, but often in the most challenging of conditions. This appeal is a way of helping at least one village rebuild its kindergarten.

Which kindergarten?

Following the cyclone, I asked colleagues in Fiji how we could help in the recovery of the kindergartens. The Fiji Early Childhood Teachers' Association (FECTA) identified the Nausori Village Kindergarten,
in the western province of Ra, as one desperately in need of help. The photo above shows the remains of the kindergarten following the cyclone. It was totally destroyed, as were most of the houses in the village, including that of the kindergarten teacher. Only 4 of the 66 houses in the village survived.

By clicking on the following youtube link you can see some of what the people in Nausori Village  experienced during and immediately after the cyclone. The young girl in the video is the daughter of Miriama Tawake, the kindergarten teacher:

Visiting Nausori Village

In August my husband and I travelled to Fiji to assess the situation and to organise the rebuilding of the kindergarten. This involved visiting Nausori Village and making contact with key people. 

To reach the village we travelled for about 2 hours along the King's Road from Suva towards Rakiraki in the west. We stopped about 30 minutes short of Rakiraki and took a van inland along a dirt track for several kms. From there  it was a matter of walking into the village over a concrete causeway that crosses a swiftly-moving river. 
 As no vehicles can cross the causeway everything has to be carried from that point into the village.

The visit was a sobering experience, but one which allowed us to see the extent of the damage and to meet the people in the village, including the headman, the kindergarten teacher and the manager of the kindergarten. We also met the kindergarten children; the trauma of the cyclone is written on the faces of many of them.

Habitat for Humanity Fiji

 While in Fiji we had meetings with Habitat for Humanity Fiji, an organisation with a wealth of experience in building cyclone-proof housing. Habitat normally works with local people and offers them training in the process. Overseas volunteer teams are also involved in many of their projects.

The kindergarten teacher, Miriama, and the manager of the kindergarten, Viliame Nawaikalou, participated in these meetings and, together, we had Habitat draw up a plan for the kindergarten. This can be seen below:


Habitat has provided an estimate of AUD$30,000 to construct the building. this includes toilets, a lock-up store room and a veranda. It does not include furniture, shelving, resources etc. Any additional money raised will be used for these purposes.

Rotary Australia

Our local Rotary Club, Brisbane Centenary Rotary Club, has endorsed the project, as has the Rotary Club of Suva East. Following these endorsements, the project has now been registered as an overseas project with Rotary Australia World Community Services (RAWCS). All donations through their campaign are tax deductible. We should also now be able to provide tax receipts for earlier donations made through this site. The total of donations from all sources will continue to be shown on the gofundme site.

Donations through RAWCS can be made through the following link:

Where to from here?

At this stage we cannot say when the building will take place. Before giving Habitat the go ahead we need to raise more money. Detailed plans must then be drawn up and approved by Council. It could happen this year; otherwise, early in 2017. When it does, it will be completed quickly, in a matter of 2-3 weeks we expect. The fact that the next cyclone season begins in November is another consideration for all building projects in Fiji.

Right now, the children and Miriama, their teacher, are carrying on as best they can in a tent provided by UNICEF.  We want to move them out of here and into a new building as soon as possible. Your donation will help make that happen.    


Thank you



Donations ()

  • Suzanne Rutland 
    • $100 
    • 5 mos
  • Rhett Mansel 
    • $100 
    • 7 mos
  • Glen & Bob 
    • $12,000 (Offline)
    • 16 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $5 
    • 17 mos
  • Chris and Narelle Martin 
    • $100 
    • 17 mos
See all


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