Education for underprivileged children in Fiji

Children from the school
Children from the school

As the 2012 school year closed and the 2013 year began, the GVI Education team can now reflect on the progress and achievements made during the first full academic year completed at Ratu Meli Memorial School (RMMS).

Throughout this academic year there have been several key developments in the Education Program which have resulted in positive changes at RMMS. Literacy levels have improved across the whole school and international volunteers have helped foster new enthusiasm for reading, boosting the confidence of the pupils. The one-on-one tuition program now provides ongoing support to pupils with learning difficulties and over the last year has ensured that 26 pupils are no longer as far behind their peers. School environment improvements, including a new computer lab, have created a more stimulating learning environment for the pupils and a number of health initiatives have improved nutrition, sanitation and the availability of fresh water.

In order to successfully develop and improve the education program at RMMS in 2013, GVI asked the class teachers and headmaster to complete a questionnaire and participate in feedback sessions with GVI staff. The teachers’ response was extremely positive, particularly with respect to the increased confidence they have observed in their pupils when speaking English. All the teachers described how the additional support offered by GVI appointed class volunteers has alleviated the pressure of their workload and broadened the experience of the students. In addition, the teachers highlighted the impact the one-on-one program has had on the slow learners and that they would not normally have sufficient time to provide individual support to students who are furthest behind in their classes. All of the teachers articulated their thanks for GVI’s contribution to the school’s infrastructure with the improvements to the toilet block, library and classrooms. 

Overall it has been a successful year for the GVI Education Program. The relationship between GVI and RMMS is cemented and has proven to be productive. Pupils, teachers and volunteers have responded positively and with enthusiasm to the teaching assistance program delivered.  GVI Fiji is dedicated to providing long-term support and despite the successes of this year, there is still work to be done at RMMS.  The Education Program will continue to evolve next year, building on the achievements of 2012 and working towards a new set of objectives to continue enriching the education provided at RMMS.

In collaboration with the RMMS community, GVI have established a set of core objectives that will shape the program in 2013

  • Maintaining a strong relationship with the school and new headmaster, increasing collaborative planning between the school and GVI.
  • Continued improvement of all existing initiatives including reading programmes, IT programmes and one-on-one support scheme
  • Introducing an extra-curricular program to deliver a more holistic education program at RMMS. Giving the pupils the opportunity to develop new skills in drama, music and arts & crafts.
  • Incorporating the new Classroom-Based Assessment system introduced into the daily GVI program.
  • Supporting ‘professional development schemes’ by providing teacher training workshops in collaboration with other local schools, including a basic computer-training program.
  • Continuing to increase the use of visual aids used at RMMS to make lessons more stimulating for pupils
  • Implementation of International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance Blue School Initiative

-                Water and sanitation improvements, including additional RWH systems and compost toilets in time for the next dry season

-                Waste management plan

-                Health and Hygiene, Environmental Protection and Peace and Tolerance awareness lessons

  • Expanding Nutritional Improvement Program, using the framework for ‘Nutriton-Friendly Schools’ developed by the World Health Organisation.
  • Fundraising through the Charitable trust and localized schemes to make ongoing improvements to the school environment
Classroom improvements
Classroom improvements


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!


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.
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.
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...

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $25
  • $50
  • $150
  • $25
    each month
  • $50
    each month
  • $150
    each month
  • $
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

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