Group off to Vanuatu to volunteer
In July 2019, an excited youth team from Whangamata¯ will be embarking on a third overseas work trip to Pango, in Vanuatu. The team consists of 17 local youth from Whangamata¯ Area School and a group of young adult leaders, with leaders Greg and Nik Laing, Vanessa Holmes and Ryan Thompson.
Over the past eight years, teams have been to Vanuatu and Cambodia, with the mission to complete practical projects that serve the local communities, to visit villages and home and ultimately, to use their time and resources to benefit those who are less fortunate.
The group has built water tanks and a dispensary in villages.
They have built a home, painted a children’s ward in a hospital, worked with children in kindergartens and schools and visited hospitals and prisons.
These adventures have had lasting impact both for the communities the group works in and for every team member.
Between now and then, the MV19 team will be meeting to plan the projects it will undertake, to fundraise and to build team unity. It will be going into challenging situations, into unknown environments and at times, harsh conditions.
Working as a team, supporting each other and stepping out of their comfort zones makes this an opportunity of a lifetime for many youth.
Each team member pays a large portion of their fees from their own pocket and the project and extra costs are raised through creative and fun fundraising events. These include a Mega Garage Sale at Labour Weekend at the Baptist Church, a dinner with Ian Foster, All Black Assistant Coach, and a Fashion Show.
“We strongly value our Whangamata¯ community standing with us in the lead-up to this venture,” the leaders say.
“We have been blown away in the past by the generosity and support of our community and look forward to seeing this new team represent our community with aroha and mana.
“Ehara taku toa, e te toa takitahi engari he toa takimano” — Our strength is not the strength of one, but of many.