The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Afloat - MICHELLE ROWE

THE smiles on the faces of th­ese Ni-Van­u­atu young­sters say it all. P&OCruises’ Pa­cific Part­ner­ship ini­tia­tive is bear­ing fruit. A new kinder­garten in the Pangi dis­trict of Pen­te­cost Is­land is the first project com­pleted un­der the cruise line’s fundrais­ing ini­tia­tive to help needy South Pa­cific com­mu­ni­ties. Since its Jan­uary launch, the joint en­ter­prise with Save the Chil­dren has raised more than $200,000 through on­board do­na­tions by pas­sen­gers and the knit­ting of blan­kets for new­borns. Talwa kinder­garten — a two-room build­ing for up to 30 chil­dren with play equip­ment and fa­cil­i­ties — was built with a $50,000 dona­tion. Dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony, P&Ostaff, in­clud­ing Pa­cific Part­ner­ships pro­gram qual­ity man­ager Ge­or­gia Noy (pic­tured), were pre­sented with walk­ing sticks tra­di­tion­ally re­served for high chiefs. A sec­ond kinder­garten, in the north­ern Sanma re­gion, is un­der con­struc­tion and a new aid post in Torba, Van­u­atu’s most re­mote out­post, is due to be com­pleted by the end of this year. More: pocruises.com.au.

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