Fiji: HK kids give village school a hand up
Behind the perfect beaches and five star resorts, much of Fiji’s rural population lives in poverty, with many unable to meet the basic needs of their families. Village life can be idyllic, but people here, like anywhere, want to see their children able to learn, thrive and stay in school.
One Hong Kong school in Shatin has been working with a community in Fiji for some years to revitalise and refurbish their local school, to help more children stay in school longer.
“Parents there want their children to succeed and get into high school,” said the project’s coordinator, a teacher at the Shatin school, but, he said, the ageing buildings and lack of resources place the children at a constant disadvantage. Only one school building has electricity, there are very few books, or basic supplies such as chalk and they don’t have enough school furniture to cater for all their students. “Half of the classes are held on the floor,” the teacher said.
Teams from the school have visited Fiji as part of their community service curriculum and have helped to renovate and refurbish parts of the school, but there were supplies and equipment that they didn’t have, which they knew could make an even greater difference. They asked Crossroads to help put together a container of goods, and, joyfully, the Hong Kong teachers themselves came to Crossroads to load the shipment! It is, however, the community members in Fiji themselves who are the greatest drive behind the school’s revitalisation. “Despite everything, these are the happiest people you will ever meet,” staff wrote. “All four villages around the school are so excited about the container and fixing the school up.”
We’re thankful to the school for making this shipment happen, and to countless other schools around Hong Kong who’ve been equally generous with their hands, hearts and pockets, partnering on other shipments. If your school would like to work with Crossroads on an international shipment, or on a project right here in Hong Kong, we’d love to talk. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Population: around 850,000
Population living below the national poverty line of US$3.3 per day: 45%
Compared to its neighbours, Fiji is relatively well developed, though it is the 61st poorest country in the world, comparable with the Philippines.
Fiji consists of 332 islands, of which 110 are inhabited.
Fiji’s main island is known as Viti Levu and it is from this that the name “Fiji” is derived.
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