Anyone who has connected with me recently may have heard the exciting news that I am traveling to Tonga in September to volunteer with Hope Corps, a non-profit organization that sponsors high impact projects in underdeveloped communities around the world.
I will be staying on the small island of Vava'u and spending my time building a preschool in the remote village of Utungake.
Currently, the only preschool is located in the main town of Neiafu, which is over 10 miles from Utungake. The cost of transportation and driving time to and from town is a major financial burden on the parents, especially since fuel is limited in such a remote island community. To put this into perspective, it is not uncommon for gasoline in Vava'u to run out, and families must ration driving or use other modes of transportation until the next fuel delivery arrives from Australia or New Zealand. When fuel is scarce, parents must decide between driving to work, or driving their children to school. Often times, the students lose out on several days of essential lessons and learning. Additionally, unemployment is high in Utungake and emerging job opportunities are scarce. A functioning preschool in the village will employ local women and provide parents with a convenient option for childcare.
I've committed to raise $3,000 to go towards the construction of a large preschool in the village. In addition to the main classroom space, there will be a teachers office, storage room, and restroom. Once the building is complete, we will move onto building an outdoor play area adjacent to the new school building.
This project will give the community a strong foundation to build off of throughout their education. Parents would not have to pay the costly school fees to the preschool in Neiafu and could in turn invest the money they save on other projects in the village. The employment of local women to run the school will generate income within the community that can be used to sustain their families. This will make the village as a whole less reliant on remittances from overseas family members. There are roughly 25 children who are of pre-school age within the community who would directly benefit from the construction of a new school.
With your help, we can pave a bright future for these kiddos! Any donation is GREATLY appreciated. Thank you for your support!
- Joan Robertson
- Casey Musser
- Tyler Robertson
- Bianca Ventura
- Jamie Pisauro
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