July 28th, 2016

Rebuilding community facilities for Yanuca village


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Think Pacific are hard at work at the moment in the hot Fijian sunshine, working alongside the people of Yanuca as we help this tiny village located off the coast of Moturiki Island, to recover from damage caused by TC Winston in February.

Yanuca, was one of the worst places affected by Cyclone Winston, with almost all buildings in the village damaged or destroyed and Think Pacific are funding the rebuilding of a community centre for the village.  This will provide a safe, clean and secure place for children and families to live, whilst the longer process of rebuilding individual homes continues and offer a long term facility the whole community can be proud of.

In the long term, community centres in Fiji are extremely important buildings, both culturally and practically. They are used by all members of the village, from hosting meetings, ceremonies and cultural events and church services to educational programmes for children and adults, and a central facility the whole community can utilize and enjoy.

Our volunteers and staff will be based on Moturiki for the next month, working away with Yanuca villagers,  as we continue to achieve this project together.

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July 17th, 2016

Past Volunteer Grace takes on a challenge for Think Pacific Foundation!


grace marathon running

We’ve been massively grateful to past volunteers and staff for their efforts fundraising for our charity in Fiji.

Last week Grace Sivey, who volunteered in Batiki island for Think Pacific decided to run the London 10K  to help raise funds for communities impacted by Cyclone Winston.

And Grace’s motivation for taking on her first ever run?

“Everone who knows me will agree how little I enjoy exercise! So my journey from being out of breath running for a bus (although I even try not to do that if I can help it!), to being able to hopefully run a 10k will be a massive achievement for me.that I hate running.

Having been welcomed on to Batiki island with such kindness when I was volunteering a few years ago, I want to be able to help these wonderful Fijian people in any small way I can.  And I thought what better way than to put myself through a huge personal challenge for me of running a 10k! Fiji will always hold a special place in my heart and I can’t stress enough how friendly, happy and welcoming these communities are. Think Pacific is a fantastic organisation who help to improve the lives of remote Fijian communities. Earlier this year Fiji suffered the impact of the worst Cyclone ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, 45,0000 people have been displaced and families have lost everything. Think Pacific were on the ground providing water, food, clothing, first aid and medical supplies that were so desperately needed. However, emergency relief is still needed and there is much more to do to help the communities rebuild.”

Vinaka vaka levu Grace for your support and we’ll ensure the funds are used to offer even more help to communities in Fiji!

If you would like to donate to Grace, it’s still not too late!

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/GSivey

July 10th, 2016

Leeds Beckett University Students Journey to Volunteer in Fiji


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After a long and tiring 20+ hour journey to the other side of the world, we finally arrived into Fiji. Greeted with ‘Bula’ and the sound of a three-piece Fijian band. We eagerly awaited a soft bed and a good nights sleep.

The leaders Frankie and Jake met us off the plane to whisk us away to Uprising beach resort for the project briefing.  Upon arriving in what looks like paradise we were given the afternoon to relax, play volleyball and swim; soaking up the sun and the laid back atmosphere.

The next day the Think Pacific team (Director, Harry; Project Manager, Euan and Youth and Sports Officer, Dan) ran the briefing, detailing the aims of the project, explaining village life and the complexity of a Fijian community. The excitement within the team was visible to see.

Now to a spot of ‘Team building’. Volleyball had quickly become a favourite past time for the group, so the team was split and a fair but competitive game of volleyball commenced.

A shopping and last minute supply trip; ensured all volunteers were suitably dressing in Bula shirts, Sulus (boys) and Jamba dresses (girls). A sense of excitement and nervousness began to creep in as the following day was the start of project.

1 team shot in back of truck

Arriving in the Village….
Three hours along a mountainous trail. In an army style truck we arrived in Nuku! We were greeted with a warm welcome, instantly swarmed by the village children as we disembarked the boats. A sevu sevu; the traditional greeting, allowing the volunteers freedom of the village, ensued. The volunteers introduced themselves and were welcomed into their new families.  Leaving with their Fijian mothers, to meet their families for the next 5 weeks of Fijian life.  Later that night everyone gathered at the community hall for their first meal in the village, accompanied by the traditional kava (grog) drinking.

First week in School – Kindergarten…

Hayley, Beth and Carla introduced animals as their “theme for the week” making songs to keep the Kindi children engaged. Drawing lions, snakes and crocodiles to teach the children about animals other than those they have seen before. Its such a good feeling when the phonics you are repeating and working on click with the children!  Heidi and Rheia worked in another tiny school, Nuku kindi, sticking with the animal theme also. After establishing the ability levels of the children. The pair then chose to work on ‘S’ and ‘A’ as the letters of the week, with catchy rhymes to sing along to.

Numbers 1-5 were also quickly nailed down by the children as real progress was made in the first week, implementing a more structured routine including circle time and tooth brushing club.

Primary School….

The rest if the team were split into each year group to work with the low ability students in the primary schools. This was where the team realised how important their work would be over the duration of the project. For the first week on project the team quickly took everything on board and immediately had the children engaged and making progress with basic English and Maths.

A highlight of the small group sessions was Emily teaching a group of class 5-6 their 9 times tables using their fingers; early achievement and success!

As the week progressed and the volunteer’s confidence grew, and alternative lessons were planned by the team. Emily, George and Jo organised an arts and crafts lessons with great success! Kyeran and Oliver delivered an excellent geography lesson using a hand made atlas and a blow up globe.

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Coaching and Team Sport….

The team decided to coach Rugby, Netball, Lacrosse and Football for the first week, with the older age groups sticking with rugby and netball.

After some great lesson planning, interesting and exciting sessions took place in all sports.  Fergus and James provided some valuable coaching advice on overlapping runs and passing; improving each individuals passing and line running.

Carla, Beth, Emily and Jo took the Netball, using their knowledge and experience to really engage the children and ensure the drills were fun but challenging.

With the younger age-groups the focus was more focused on fun, small-sided games and experimental ideas using the lacrosse equipment and footballs. It was evident that all taking part enjoyed the sessions. Roll on next week’s sports!

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Adventure Excursion – Waterfall!!

The theme for the week had been discussed and decided to be “nature” for the second week. In Kindi, George and Kyeran chose the rainbow (colours) to make learning more fun. They both decided on using paper mache around balloons and drawing rainbows for the children to colour and paint.

For the school the team hit the ground running straight from the off with the team highlighting areas from the previous week to work on, coming up with great little hints and tricks for the low ability students. Joe, Oliver and Beth gained significant ground with a few class 5/6 students with their multiplication and division. Carla and Hayley also used the week to separate the class 7/8 strugglers into smaller groups based on their current ability level. An insightful and progressive week in Nuku primary school.

House Cup…

This week the house cup was introduced to the primary school. A fun competition, which changes each week and introduces children for the first time to arts and crafts, singing and public speaking. This week, we created “the tree of nature” for arts and crafts. The volunteers were split into teams (red, green, blue and yellow) and each team had to devise one large piece of artwork together, with all the children involved. All judged on inclusivity and team work as well as the quality of the children’s masterpieces! Each team took a different approach with and with very high quality of work, judging will be a difficult task.

All in all, it’s been a very busy start to the project!  The project aims are diverse and it may be early days, but we can already see the benefits of our time spent supporting the Fijian children, be this through sports coaching, art or education.  Our welcome into the village community has also left us with feeling that we’ve definitely found a ‘second home’ in the tropical jungle of Fiji. We’re at the beginning of making memories, which I’m sure, will stay with all of us for a very long time to come.

July 5th, 2016

UWE and Northumbria Students Support Fijian Children


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We were delighted to guide students from both Northumbria University and the University of West of England this summer, as students spent a month leading education, extra-curricular and sports programs for Fijian Children in Namosi Province, led by Northumbria Students Jamie Jones and Bethany Powell and the Think Pacific team.

The students, who came from a range of degree disciplines supported children with a range of education and sports projects at rural Wainiyavu Primary School and village kindergarten.

Over the course of the month the team organised small group and one-to-one lessons for pupils, providing children with dedicated tuiton in English and Mathmatics and led an early years education initiative. Even after just a few weeks, the improvements in the children’s understanding was visable to see.  Each afternoon the volunteer students organised sports, increasing skills in areas as diverse as Rugby and Dance.  During extra-curricular and house cup projects, the team introduced, songs, games, public speaking and an end of project festival.  A hugely rewarding experience for all involved and we’d like to thank the students, their respective universities and the wonderful village of Wainiyavu for their kind and generous hospitality.

Volunteer, Alana Dobson from Northumbria University posted about her exprriences;

“Having the opportunity to go to Fiji and live in a small village with the locals, teaching and sports coaching, has been amazing. It was a once in a lifetime chance that I’m so glad I took. Seeing how people in the village lived without electricity, proper plumbing, clean water and a solid education has truly made me appreciate everything I have in life. I’ve realised just how lucky I am. The people of Wainiyavu were some of the nicest, most caring people have I have ever met and I’m pleased the village allowed us the opportuinty to stay with them. I would love more than anything to return one day in the future. Think Pacific is an amazing charity and I’m so happy I got to work with them. I’m also thankful that I got to work with such an amazing team, I don’t think this experience would have been the same without them. I urge anyone if you ever get an opportunity like this take it, you won’t regret it.

During their project the univerity students were also visited by the British High Commissier for Fiji, H.E Roerick Drummond along with delegates from the Foreign Office from London who were visiting Fiji and came to see their impact.

We hope the students’ amazing memories of a summer spent volunteering stays with them for a long time to come and that the experoence has a positive impact upon their own lives and their further studies and careers.

May 28th, 2016

Providing thounsands of educational packs to school children


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Think Pacific Foundation, have this week distributed 20 thousand educational packs, kindergarten boxes, teacher resources and sports kits to rual schools on Koro Island.

Following Cyclone Winston hundreds of schools across Fiji were been damaged or destroyed,  with Koro being one of the areas in most need. Lessons in many communities are taking place in makeshift tents and whilst the incredible positive attitude of the Fijian people shines through, it’s so important to continue support, and not forget, the thousands of children still living in such tough conditions and the hard working teachers trying to maintain school programmes in remote areas.

After undertaking projects to support assess the damage, meet with teachers and conduct surveys on Koro,  our charity saw a great need for basic educational resources as so many schools were lacking items such as pencils and paper.  We hope our efforts have gone a small way to improving the lives of Fijian children and with the help of our supporters, we’ll continue to do more.  Some schools in Fiji are going to take many years to get back on their feet and every donation helps us offer more support.
https://www.justgiving.com/think-pacific

March 18th, 2016

SUSTAINABILITY IS CENTRAL


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We ensure the positive impact of our volunteer projects continues long after our volunteers leave. How? By working with partners including The Fijian Ministry of Education, The Fijian Ministry of Youth & Sports, The Fiji National Sports Commission and UNICEF to support school children year round.

We train teachers, provide scholarships, develop kindergarten schools, maintain school sports and ensure that our projects are part of a long term plan of targeted support, which achieves specific and measurable goals to tackle the root cause of poverty. This is volunteering, the Think Pacific way.

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