One of the most visible and effective projects supported by the Rotary Club of Canberra Sunrise (amongst many others) in recent years has been the building of a new hall and library at the Port Resolution school on Tanna island, Vanuatu. It is an inspiring story of youth, Rotarians and communities working together to change lives.


Seven years ago, Rotarian Susan Alexander was visiting the village of Port Resolution, located on Tanna Island, Vanuatu.  While having a picnic lunch with the Principal of the local Village School they talked about what could be done to support his remote school. Both agreed that a new school hall, kitchen and library would benefit this isolated community, and the initial plans were drawn with a stick in the dirt.


When Susan returned to Telopea Park School in Canberra, she and her students began collecting educational supplies to support the remote school in Vanuatu. As the friendship between the two schools grew, so did the level of support.  The Australia students were excited about the concept of building a new hall, library and kitchen at the Vanuatu school, and some planning was underway, however it was more of a dream than reality.


Things began to change when the student body formed an association with Rotary, and before long, under the direction of teacher and Rotarian Susan Alexander, the Rotary Club of Canberra Sunrise chartered an Interact Club at Telopea Park School. Interact is short for International Action, and it is a junior Rotary Club for 12-18 year olds.  With the Project being accepted as an official Rotary District 9650 RAWCS TAFEA Project, the Interact Club started a three year fundraising campaign. The Aussie students held many fund rising events and with donations from various Rotary Clubs, the Australian High Commission in Vanuatu, Dick Smith and many others, the students raised a total of  $114,000. and construction began.


The project faced many challenges, not least, the logistics of getting building supplies and tools to the remote Port Resolution site (managed by the Rotary District 9650 RAWCS TAFEA Committee).  Whenever these challenges arose, Interact, Rotary and the community of Port Resolution worked together to overcome the hurdles.  No challenge was too great for the team of focused Australian volunteers and local community  who were committed to providing the labour to build the Project. One example of this was to the lack electricity and available tools, at one stage the village community had to cut all roofing iron with a bush knife!


The seven year journey culminated on 13 November 2013, when the new education/ community facility was officially opened.  At the time of the opening the hall, kitchen and library was fully equipt with all necessary equipment to be make it fully functional, complete with a large volume books in the library! To show their appreciation the  village put on a grand 7 hour opening ceremony to celebrate the dream becoming reality.


This dream came true, thanks to Rotary and many communities working together to make it happen. The outcome is amazing and will provide benefits for generations to come.


Some of the photos are shown below - see them all here.