Vanuatu: Child Nutrition and Medical Clinic
Type: Human Needs
Funding Need: $14,000 USD annually
Vanuatu is a country of subsistence farmers. The people are poor: employment is scarce; typically they own a few clothes and some cooking pots. There is no money for healthcare, medication, reading glasses or school fees. Our interest lies principally on the island of Tanna, where the Christadelphian Bethezer foundation oversees the Kapalpal school.
The school is 7.5 km from an active volcano and prevailing winds blow volcanic ash across the land. While this ash makes the soil very fertile in the longer term, in the short term it smothers all but root crops; so frequently there are no vegetables or fruits. We are launching a nutrition programme for the school to offset this need. A number of our students walk two hours to get to school, having neither had breakfast nor brought lunch. The supplement is donated generously from a group in America; we bear the cost of the expensive freight and the rice. The children have a protein deficient diet: starchy root crops and island cabbage with fruit when available (exacerbated by cyclone Pam, in Mar 2015, which has destroyed all Tanna’s food for the next several months). There is a very real danger of starvation and chronic malnutrition. We intend to supplement the schoolchildren’s diet with a daily lunch; available also to the teachers, their families and ecclesial members who prepare the food. To provide the daily nutrition supplement on all school days will cost us about $2 000 per year.
We provide the students toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and towels; and have a shower block at the school. Many community people come to the school water tanks (we have ten 6 000 litre tanks, collecting rainwater) to carry water to their villages; but don’t use much for showering, after carrying it so far. We have a first aid ‘nurse’ who works in the clinic at the school, organizing showering and toothbrushing for the children. Children with serious problems are transported to the hospital at Lenakel, the only ‘town’ on the island. We pay the hospital fee and transport costs for those in the community who can’t afford to go there. We spend about $4 000 per year for this.
We already run building, first-aid and mothercraft classes, costing us nothing, and hope to add:
- Sewing classes: to address the clothing problem. We supply the materials but encourage people to develop their skills in making them. Estimated annual cost: $3 000
- Woodworking classes: we will provide material and instruction for the students to make their own individual desks. Estimated annual cost for materials: $5 000
The human need in Vanuatu is real and almost unlimited. There is no lasting solution until our Master returns but as disciples of Christ we feel he would want us to stretch ourselves to answer that need where we can. We expect these programs will make a vast difference in the immediate quality of life for the poor in Vanuatu and expand opportunities for them beyond this. As a bottom line, we request a continuing annual $14 000 to run these programs.
Request authors: Bre Terry & Karen Nutter (Brisbane, Aus) & John Pople (San Francisco, USA)