A Solomon Island school is one step closer to fulfilling a dream of suitable toilet facilities for their 350 students after Member for Burnett and Shadow Minister for the Environment, Cultural Heritage and National Parks, Stephen Bennett, pictured top at right, worked with Rotary to complete the first stage of construction.
Mr Bennett, who has recently returned from the humanitarian mission, said despite many challenges, Kokegolo Community High School, located in Munda, continues to provide quality education for the children of the region.
‘But there continues to be one significant challenge in that there are no suitable, hygienic amenities for the students and staff at the school,’ Mr Bennett said.
Mr Bennett, a former builder, first travelled to the Solomon Islands with Rotary in 2008 where he helped to construct birthing suites following a major natural disaster.
He has also been influential over many years in the ongoing work at the Helena Goldie Hospital, a small hospital west of Lambete, which was originally set up by the Rev J.F. Goldie (Methodist missionary) and named after his wife.
The first stage of the current construction activities were conducted by six members of the Bundaberg Sunrise Rotary Club, including Mr Bennett, and team leader Barry Tennet, of Rotary Club of Rockhampton Fitzroy.
Mr Bennett said while work was well underway, the project still required additional funding to ensure its successful completion, which he hoped would be completed before Christmas this year.
Mr Bennett said he was excited and humbled to be able to return to participate in such important project.
‘To be able to put my skills to good use and assist underprivileged communities is such an honour and an extremely humbling experience,’ he said. ‘It’s easy to take for granted just how lucky we are to live in our fortunate country.’
Rotary District 9570 has had a long association with the island of New Georgia which is in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. Munda is the largest settlement on the island.