Locals Give Hope to Vanuatu

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Local educators Rachel Hellyer and Hannah Tomkins are changing the face of childhood education in Vanuatu, thanks to their inspiring program, the Vanuatu Preschool Project.

The Vanuatu Preschool Project, which was started at the end of 2013 after a 6-month trip teaching in the country, has seen Rachel and Hannah establish two preschools on the island of Efate, about 10 minutes from the capital Port Vila.

The preschools take children from 3 to 5 years old. They have some students who pay fees and other children who have overseas sponsors, so that they can attend. Providing play-based learning, nutrition and first aid, they encourage families to be involved during the day. Rachel and Hannah are currently training 5 local women to be teachers, using a program that they have developed to make learning more accessible.

“In 2010, we came to Vanuatu for a week holiday. We were encouraged by family friends who had done mission work here to explore outside the tourist destinations and to get to know the local Ni-Vanuatu people” explained Rachel and

Hannah, who are from Emu Plains and Glenbrook respectively.

“We were both studying early childhood education in Australia, so we jumped at the opportunity to visit a local preschool. We saw such a need for affordable, Christian early years education and for training to provide opportunities for local women to teach” they continued.

The work that the Vanuatu Preschool Project does provides children, their families, and women in education with a strong foundation for success in their lives.

“We have been given the chance to share our knowledge on early childhood education and open up futures for local women in education. Our preschools offer opportunities to young children and their families to access quality education for affordable prices or for free” Rachel and Hannah replied.

They are also currently editing their teaching program and plan to make it accessible to preschools around Vanuatu.

You can follow their journey on Facebook (Vanuatu Preschool Project) or email them at vanuatupreschoolproject@gmail.com to receive their monthly newsletters. They welcome visitors and donations are always appreciated.

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