A message from Tracey Farnsworth, Director/Founder
In 2009, I went to Vanuatu for a holiday. Little did I know that it would be the holiday that changed my life. I met a young man and his family brimming with the brightest ideas. I fell in love with them – their spirit, their humour and their kindness towards me. I started looking at ways to support this family and in particular their grandchildren and the community.
In early 2015, I attended a parent/teacher night for two of my local Vanuatu children whom I’d become a sponsor for. I quickly realised that what I saw in this school mirrored the sad truth for schools across the island. They were overcrowded. Teachers had minimal resources. It really hit home for me when I saw a reading corner in a Grade 5 classroom without a book in sight. I asked where the books were kept – the answer was simply that there were none. The school couldn’t afford them.
With that, the charity Progress Pikinini began in February 2015. Then Cyclone Pam wreaked devastation on Vanuatu. This left permanent damage and destroyed many children’s’ belongings. Progress Pikinini’s goal is to support Vanuatu schools’ and their children with the essential educational tools they need. Things like storybooks, educational texts books, stationery supplies, drink bottles and lunchboxes. But over time, donations have come to include other everyday items that locals simply cannot afford – clothes, shoes, bedlinen – and even toys so that children can enjoy being children.
With bases in Melbourne and Vanuatu, Progress Pikinini facilitates shipping of donated goods from all around Australia to the islands of Vanuatu. We also accept monetary donations, 100% of which go to Progress Pikinini’s cause of making life more liveable for the community.
The support received for Progress Pikinini has far surpassed what I dreamed possible. We shipped our first 40-foot container in July 2015 and then again in September 2016. The generosity of several Aussies resulted in item donations that helped several; as well as monetary donations that made even more possible.
It is my hope that peoples’ generosity continue to make things possible for Progress Pikinini and the kids of Vanuatu – thank you for your support thus far and that to come. For more up to date information and heart-warming photos, visit our Gallery and Facebook page.