Vanuatu Cyclone: Warwickshire donations to the Recovery Fund.
You will recall that in March 2015, the Freemasons' Grand Charity donated £20,000 via the Red Cross, in emergency aid following the severe tropical cyclone which hit Vanuatu in the South Pacific. The cyclone caused widespread destruction to one of the world's least developed countries. President Baldwin Lonsdale appealed for immediate help, saying the storm had "wiped out" all development of recent years and his country would have to rebuild "everything".
There was significant impact on livelihoods, with 13% of people already living below the basic poverty line. Over 80% of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood.
The Freemasons' Grand Charity donation has been used towards delivering assistance in Water/Sanitation, Health and Shelter.
Following the initial donation by the Grand Charity, a number of Lodges asked if they could donate funds to assist the recovery, and I have been able to send over £5,600 to the Vanuatu Recovery Fund, thanks to 16 Lodges including one from Worcestershire, one very generous Brother, and a donation from the Warwickshire Masonic Charitable Association.
The report below describes the use to which our donation will contribute.
The Vanuatu Recovery Fund, managed by the Lodge of Discovery on the island, has made the decision to fund the rebuilding of the library at the Suango Mele Primary School, and to build a bigger and better structure than had previously existed. This will mean that the school can have a media centre within the library to make it suitable for the future study of the students.
The old library was behind one of the classroom blocks and next to a swamp and will now be moved to a much better location. It will now be more central to all the classroom blocks and nearby to the headmaster’s house. This will make the library a focal point within the school and will give prominence to the Masonic donations that made it possible.
Final planning is underway and by sourcing suitable materials locally, work is about to commence. Current projects on the site are going well with the help of other concerned parties: new classrooms are being built, older ones are being reroofed and other buildings are ongoing, so normality should return soon to the 400 young students of Suango Mele Primary School.