Australia: 3rd Annual Walk-a-thon

Australia: 3rd Annual Walk-a-thon

JULY 24, 2018  

Supporting our Pacific Neighbors


WFWP Australia's third annual "Support our Pacific Neighbors Walk-a-thon" took place on March 3, 2018 for the first time at Lysterfield Lake Park near Narre Warren, on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia. The event is open to young and old and provided three different types of trails: gentle; advanced; and one that catered to special needs. A total of 45 people participated, half of whom were young people, including five families. 

The purpose of the yearly Walk-a-thon is to raise funds for WFWP Australia's projects undertaken for nations in the islands of Oceania. Since 2003, WFWP Australia has donated books for school children on the Solomon Islands, sewing machines to support their Women's Sewing Centers, provides funding for the solar project for the New Hope Kindergarten in Honiara and contributes to the Pacific Island Scholarship Fund.

On arrival, participants registered for their walk and were ready to hit the trail at 11:00 am. While walkers hiked off well-equipped with hats, water and snacks, volunteers prepared a barbecue lunch. The overall atmosphere was very positive and every one was friendly and supportive.

It was also very inspiring to meet new people interested in supporting WFWP Australia's cause. This year, funds raised from the Walk-a-thon will support the education of two young women in the Solomon Islands who have received scholarships from the Pacific Island Scholarship Fund.

This project, in partnership with UPF and FFWPU, is a not-for-profit development program that aims to provide young adults from Solomon Islands and Vanuatu with access to empowering education programs in their own country. The program supports young people who, besides being passionate about getting an education, align with one of the values and goals of WFWP, "Living for the sake of others."

In the Solomon Islands, education is not free, so families can only afford sending their children to school until a certain age. As a consequence, youth and young adults do not fully complete their education and their place is therefore taken by foreigners. This creates a tremendous social problem: Solomon Islanders become second-class citizens in their own country. With this scholarship, WFWP allows young women to receive an education and feel empowered.

Our first scholarship recipient, Jenny, has successfully completed her first year of study in Early Childhood Education and has now started her second and final year of university.

This year, WFWP Australis has a second scholarship recipient, Janet, who is enrolling in the Early Childhood Education Course as well. Further WFWP projects for 2018 include the establishment of a women's sewing center in Samoa, where 20 sewing machines were sent in early February of this year. Also, over 500 kg of donated books and school stationery were shipped to the New Hope Academy in the Solomon Islands.

Formerly a kindergarten, this school is being enlarged to include new classrooms as it transitions to becoming a primary school, where the books and stationery will be very useful. Funds raised at the Walk-a-thon contribute to the shipping expenses connected to these two initiatives.

WFWP is very grateful to all the sponsors, supporters and walkers who made the Walk-a-thon a successful event this year. Over $2000 was raised on the day which will enable the realization of the 2018 projects. Many thanks to all the volunteers whose assistance ensured the success of the event.