Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Computers open opportunities

St Francis Xavier College staff with Liz McDougall, James Moss and Ken Engsmyr (L to R) and their USBs and computer room.
A combined effort between members of four Rotary Clubs has seen a new computer lab set up in a remote school in Fiji.

The project kicked off when PP Ken Engsmyr of RC Parkes was offered 25 computers from Northparkes Mine.

Having visited Fiji with a team from RC Parkes to work at Koroipita, formerly the Fiji Rotahomes Project, under team leader Liz McDougall, Honorary Member of RC Brookvale, Ken suggested they go to a school in Fiji.

Liz has been assisting the Ra Maternity Hospital, a three hour drive north east of Nadi, for almost 20 years and was aware of a new high school opposite.

With Ken co-ordinating the computers and Liz the Fiji details, Rod Smith, RC Dee Why Warringah loaned his ute and muscles to get the computers to Port Botany and RC Lautoka, Fiji, looked after the shipment and transportation Fiji side.

Also on the team was Ken’s nephew James Moss, an IT guru who was invaluable in setting up the computers at St Francis Xavier College in Navinibutu. At the hotel they were staying in they met Carron Bourke from RC Philip Island, Vic and he joined the team for a couple of days.

On the day they arrived the school principal Mikaele Waqnibau was absent as he was in Suva putting his case for a computer teacher for next yearto the Department of Education! Granted!

“Having computers will make a real difference,” said Mr Waqanibau.

“It will give our students a chance to go on to vocational training or university.”

The students were so excited when the computers arrived – they are from Fiji’s rural interior and none of their families have computer or internet. Their only contact with computers had been seeing the teachers’ computers in the staff room. (These were very basic and James spent time fixing numerous and varied problems on them.)

The school thanked the visitors, garlanding them with salusalus and providing them with beautiful tropical fruit and cakes during their visits over the four days.

All involved in the project have learnt a lot and hope to replicate the project to other schools. They have written a detailed paper on better ways to organise such a project – if this is useful to anyone contact Liz at lizmcd@optusnet.com.au  


The above is an example of the huge contribution that clubs from around the world also make to those in need in the pacific.