Working together with LGS (South Pacific),
we are committed to serving remote schools on South Pacific Islands by supplying musical and educational resources which are very scarce in most schools. Piano for Schools make a significant contribution to this work by performing in our Annual Fund Raising Concert and Sponsored Piano Practice. So far we have resourced over 15 schools with a library and provided computers, art materials and recorders to many others. For the past two years we have been honoured to have the 1st and 2nd Secretary of the Fijian High Commission to present medals at our concert, in recognition of our partnership.
Anyone who has been on holiday to Fiji will have experienced the beautiful vocal harmony and natural musical ability of the resort staff. For those who venture a little further into a local village school, you will receive a warm welcome and see where singing is learnt. It may seem evident that there are few educational resources, an observation that pre-empted our work in Fiji, but infact the schools closest to the resorts are in comparison very well equipped. Our four year journey has taken us beyong the tourist trail to remote mountain schools accessible only by dirt tracks hours from Savusavu, and to 'the Forgotten Province' of Bua and Koroinasolo, accessible only by boat when the rains arrive, which is most of January and February. Over fifteen schools now enjoy the use of a library, and some who have the privilege of a generator are now able to offer their students use of a computer.
There we have experienced the warmest
frienship and hospitality and an enthusiastic welcome in all the schools we visit. Head teachers proudly present their well stocked libraries which have been gathered packed and shipped from Autralia by LGS.
During our inspection visits we have the privilige of introducing the children to art activites which are rarely experienced and music lessons which include a range of rythmic activites and recorder playing which is met with rapturous laughter. Whatever we bring, no matter how small, it is received with delight.
Back at home in Newcastle NSW, November is spent preparing for our Annual Fund Raising Concert. Attended by parents and friends, this event is a highlight of the year when 100 students take their turn at the grand piano performing their duet or solo piece. The event is attended by a supporting Rotary Club, the Fijian community who turn out in traditional Fijian costume and the Fijian High Commission who present medals to each student in recognition of their musical achievement and contribution to the education of chidlren in Fiji.
The single most amazing thing about this experience has been the people we’ve met and the friends we’ve made. Fijian families whose hospitality makes you feel like you’re at home and who share with you the very best of the little they have. Then there are the Australian school communities who are willing to get involved, educate their children on the values of sharing and recycling and some amazing gestures of generosity. Between the two nations, we’ve experienced a small taste of ‘a world in harmony’.