Learn more about our Fiji hotel's community projects
July 2014 was a month of books for our Responsible Business Adopt-a-School programme! We asked guests to bring donations whether it was primary, high school, fiction or non-fiction-all were welcome. We received some great reading material, which has been distributed to some of our libraries. The libraries that we support are Nadi Primary, Nawaka Primary and Togo Primary; we also distributed books and shelves to Nalotawa Boarding School, Nadi District Primary and Ratu Navula College. Kindergarten books were donated for our Early Learning Centre at Navilawa village.
Mulomulo Primary is an "adopted" school that is close to our hearts. When we completed their computer lab, they asked us to help them with their library. They had a huge amount of cartons of books donated to them by Pat and Usha Fountain from the USA. Usha was a former student of Mulomulo, and her and her husband gathered enough donated books to be sent to 28 Fijian schools! However, Mulomulo really needed assistance with organisation and set-up to make it a user-friendly library for the students. So, with a fantastic group of volunteers, the school built extra shelving, and the students helped in the set-up process. Well done, everyone!
After receiving our award late last year from Radisson for “Responsible Business Hotel of the Year Asia Pacific,” we decided to spend our monetary reward on a cocktail party to thank all those involved in our Adopt-a-School programme. Principals and representatives from our adopted schools, our freight company Williams & Gosling who donate free freight for our books, Ministry of Labour and Education as well as the many volunteers who assist in our library set-ups all had a lovely evening on our lagoon lawn area.
In August, the Radisson Blu Adopt-a-School program witnessed one of its proudest moments to date with the official opening of its largest project at Navilawa in the Sabeto Valley, an Early Learning Centre for a village that has had no school facilities at all.
The project came about many months ago when a partner organisation “Rise Beyond the Reef” introduced the Radisson Blu Responsible Business Team to the village and explained their needs. “Rise Beyond the Reef” coordinated the project in terms of communicating with both the village community and the Ministry of Education while the Radisson Blu Adopt-a-School programme fully funded the project.
The investment into the raw materials and the furniture for the facility has totalled around 20,000 FJD. Various members from the Resort’s engineering team spent three days on site helping the village with the building work - one member of the team was particularly involved with drawings, quoting and coordination. Radisson Blu donated approximately 75 man hours to the project and funding has been raised totally through guest donations.
“Rise Beyond the Reef” shared with us that only 4.7% of the entire Yakete District (home to Navilawa Village) has graduated from a full secondary school education. For more than 60 years, children as young as five years old have left their village to attend kindergarten at the District Boarding School. In addition, poverty rates in this village and throughout the district range from 50-400% below the rural poverty guideline. Radisson Blu is very hopeful that the new facility will introduce a wonderful group of Fijian children to education at a young age and help them develop a passion for learning. Perhaps one day one of these children will become a leader within Fiji or even beyond this domestic boundary.
We have been told that this is the first ever hotel-tourism based investment in the district. This is despite the fact that within Yakete there are nine similar villages and a population of about 650-700. Rarely do tourism dollars benefit such remote communities.