Education for underprivileged children in Fiji

Dec 29, 2012

Cyclone Evan Disaster Recovery

On 17th December 2012, Severe Tropical Cyclone Evan hit the Fijian islands, causing catastrophic damage. Damaging heavy waves, rain and thunderstorms including severe flash flooding hit the Yasawas and Western Division.  The Yasawas communities where the GVI Charitable Trust work was severely affected. Winds exceeding 125 mph brought down trees, blocking roads and blowing away homes/roofs with widespread power and water outages. Many have already lost all their belongings. Major flooding is a high concern with powerful swells hitting the coastal communities and more rains to come.

The community of Nacula in the Yasawa Islands, Fiji already has access to only very basic resources with a severe lack of fresh water, power, nutritious food and education. As a result of Cyclone Evan, many of these families will be much worse off. With currently 13,976 evacuees in 242 Evacuation centres, assistance is being provided to underprivileged children through the Care and Protection Program set up through organisations such as the Red cross. 

GVI has a close relationship with the Red Cross and regional disaster preparedness operations and GVI Fiji 's Country Director is an elected Executive of Nadi Red Cross. As such, the GVI Charitable Trust has set up a new appeal to help raise funds for the communities we work with in Fiji. If you would like to help, please do have a look at our project page -

Thank you for all your support in 2012 and we look forward to be in touch again in 2013!


Oct 16, 2012

A Volunteers Account

Today we are lucky enough to have a first hand of the work that goes on in Nacula Village from a Volunteers perspective...

Over the past 2 weeks I have been working in the village of Nacula at their Kindergarten. Kindergarten operates from 9am – 12pm everyday with an average of about 15 children a day, ranging from 2 years to 4year old. During the session we sing songs, practice learning our shapes and colours as well as learning the alphabet and numbers. The children are then involved in free play where they can draw, play with blocks or use flash cards to continue practicing their shapes and colours.

On Wednesday 3rd October I was lucky enough to participate in Nacula Pre-School Day. We invited all the parents and elders from the village, as well as the chief and minister of the Pre-School. The children put on a performance of the songs they had been learning and we displayed their work around the classroom, including photos of the past week’s activities. Miss Julie, the kindergarten teacher gave a speech to the parents on the importance of health and hygiene of their young children. Following the performance the women of the village provided tea and cakes for morning tea. I was privileged enough to be asked to sit with the minister of the pre-school who wanted to know my opinion on pre-school education and improvements that he could make at the Nacula Pre-School.

This volunteering experience in Nacula Pre-School has been eye opening. These children have limited resources however are still so eager to learn and play. I felt so welcomed every day walking into the village with every person saying ‘Bula’ to me and inviting me to any village event that was occurring. The children of Nacula Pre-School are beautiful and while the villagers were grateful to have someone to help teach English I am just as grateful to them for allowing me into their community.
Sep 19, 2012

Marine and Environmental Awareness

Global Vision International (GVI) and Vinaka Fiji’s Marine Research and Conservation Project aims to conduct research that will facilitate long term benefits for the local communities of the Yasawas and help guarantee food security for future generations.
The program is designed to empower communities by providing education and assistance through the facilitation of locally managed marine protected areas (MPAs) whilst also enabling communities to gain official national recognition of these MPAs.
GVI’s Marine and Environmental Awareness, School Education Program aims to teach the key concepts in marine conservation and environmental good practice. The program is currently running in Ratu Meli Memorial School and Nasomolevu Catholic School, alternating weekly. The program is taught with a variety of creative techniques including hands-on, interactive lessons which include such activities as snorkelling trips, drawing, role play, beach cleans, debates, brainstorming and games. The Marine and Environmental Awareness School Education Program hopes to instil a sense of pride in pupils for their marine environment and encourage conservation for future generations to come. Topics covered so far include; threats to the marine environment, destructive fishing gear, mangroves, sharks, plastic pollution, climate change, sea cumbers and turtles.
Aug 27, 2012

RMMS Developments!

A double update today - the RMMS rugby tournament, and decorating Class 5!
Firstly, the rugby...
Every July primary schools participate in regional rugby and netball tournaments held all over Fiji. This year Ratu Meli Memorial School was the host of the tournament for the Yasawa Islands region. The tournament was held over two days with seven schools participating. Ratu Meli combined with Ratu Namasi School to form the northern team and went on to win under 9, under 12 and under 13 rugby, as well as under 10 and under 11 netball. The children trained hard in the weeks prior to the tournament as the best players from each school are selected to represent the Yasawa Islands in a nationwide tournament on the mainland held the following month.
Ratu Meli has many skilled young players in both netball and rugby, and the school was fortunate enough to have 31 students selected to play on the mainland. The teachers have been extremely supportive of their students receiving such an amazing opportunity and have all contributed their time helping to train the selected students. A selection of teachers will also accompany the students to the mainland to help coach the individuals during the tournament. The tournament also provides the students with insights into significant differences between the island villages and the mainland. Many of the older children will be starting secondary school this coming January and as most of them have not had the opportunity to spend time on the mainland, this tournament enables them a brief glimpse of what awaits them after Ratu Meli.
And then the painting... 
For all eagerly awaiting the new look classrooms at RMMS we'd like to unveil the snazzy and much improved class 5! It was inspired by the work Class 5 did on the Elmer book series when working with Miss Paige last month. Class 6, 7 and 8 are next in line for a GVI renovation...
Aug 17, 2012

Ratu Meli Memorial School IT Program

GVI and Ratu Meli Memorial School of Nacula Island have received 25 used laptops donated by  School District No. 23, Central Okanagan, Canada, which was facilitated by volunteer Keddy and her father Dave Pavlik.  Once the laptops were released from customs, GVI volunteers and staff set about developing an IT program for RMMS students and teachers.  This generous donation to both the resources available to GVI volunteers and RMMS teachers and students will be used to enrich lessons, provide an interactive learning experience and of course provide basic computer literacy training.  This new access to computers will help better prepare pupils for the transition into secondary school as word processing is a part of the national curriculum for all secondary school students. These computers have also helped the school to bridge the significant gap between the resources available to primary school pupils on the mainland and those available to the pupils of outer island school.

The first stage step in integrating the IT program into daily school activities was to gauge the pupil’s current IT knowledge. Pupils were asked to practice their laptop and word processing skills by asking them to copy text from their favorite books into a word processing program. It was clear from this test run across classes 5-8 that lessons would need to be arranged on basic computer literacy and word processing.

The second stage of the process was to liaise with the teachers of Class 6 to 8 and gather their recommendations on how IT could be worked into the current curriculum as a useful tool for lesson delivery. It was proposed that pupils would benefit the most from being taught on how to correctly use Microsoft word and Word Processing programs.

Once these skills have been mastered we would then be able to branch out into further tuition on office programs such as Excel and PowerPoint.  Excel will be used to progress their understanding of how data can be organized and manipulated easily with computers in a way that would easily enable them to organize and collate their work. PowerPoint is also an extremely useful tool as it they will utilize it to create presentations aiding them in their understanding of English literacy and personal presentation skills.

IT lessons have now become a permanent part of the curriculum, with each class designated to an afternoon of word processing lessons. Volunteers work one-on-one with the children to aid them in their training and track each of their individual progress. They commence with basic laptop use, progressing through to two hand typing, up to creating and writing their own reports.

We are currently researching educational software that will further enhance subject specific engagement, such as mathematics games, electronic encyclopedias, and other subject specific software, which would help enhance and diversify the learning experience offered to the children of Ratu Meli School. Math’s games have so far proved an exciting challenge for the students and a fantastic alternative learning environment in what can be a challenging class for many of the students.

We hope to increase the children’s future prospects by enabling them to have access to computers, early exposure to which will be an asset to them in higher education and improve future employability. This is an extremely new and exciting addition to the curriculum of Ratu Meli School, and one that we can see making a dramatic change to the students learning abilities and achievements. On behalf of Ratu Meli School and GVI, we would like to express our thanks to the donors that made this possible through their donation to the GVI Fiji Charitable Trust. Vinaka Vaka Levu (Thank you very much)!


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Project Leader

Sophie Birkett

GVI Charitable Trust Manager
Exeter, Devon United Kingdom

Where is this project located?

Map of Education for underprivileged children in Fiji