Leeds Met students impact with fundraising for Fiji
Working with the Think Pacific Foundation - which aims to make a long-term difference to Fijian communities by improving educational resources, training, basic infrastructure, health care and sports development.- the students spent six weeks based in the province of Rewa.
Raising a total of £19,639, the volunteers worked closely with youth from the poorest areas, helping to develop educational, extra-curricular and sports initiatives in rural schools and contributing to national youth and sports events.
His Excellency, Mr Roderick Drummond, the British High Commissioner for Fiji, who visited the student volunteers during their time in Fiji, said: "I was astounded by what they had contributed in such a short period of time towards education. It was evident that the children had benefited hugely from the volunteers' innovative methods of teaching and close interaction with the pupils in various schools and kindergartens.
"Several head teachers told me that there had been a 15% increase in school attendance each day. Moreover, the teachers and head teachers had learned a huge amount from the experience and several told me they planned to change their teaching methods to make them more interactive and engaging for the children.
"The students from Leeds Metropolitan University were excellent ambassadors for the UK. They adapted to living in village communities, including pretty basic living conditions."
The money raised will be used to support long term youth development initiatives in Fiji, including building a new kindergarten school, funding long term sports and educational events for underprivileged children and developing a new scholarship, which will provide two, year-long apprenticeships in youth and sports development and teaching for unemployed Fijian youths.
Andrew Disbury, Director of the International Office at Leeds Metropolitan University, added: "We're delighted that this joint venture has been a success on so many levels. The volunteers on all the projects across our international volunteering programme never fail to impress with their commitment and enthusiasm and the Think Pacific Foundation are a very impressive organisation. We knew our students would be in safe hands with Think Pacific, contributing to a meaningful and sustainable project whilst developing themselves and having an experience of a lifetime in the supportive Fijian communities where they were based."
Simon Darker, Co-Founder of Think Pacific commented: "The impact of the students far exceeded our expectations. The whole six week project was of phenomenal benefit to the Fijian children and youths, who will remember the experience for a long time to come. The volunteers threw themselves wholeheartedly into tackling the teaching, youth and sports aims and also into Fijian life - developing close bonds with the community and their Fijian families.
"The achievements made and the skill and knowledge applied to the volunteering initiatives demonstrates the incredibly high calibre of Leeds Metropolitan University students."