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School packs for the Solomons project on air

Conditions in the Solomon schools are basic

"Queensland families are just breathing a sigh of relief as children finish school for the year.  For one group it’s already time to start thinking about next year.

"Imagine sending your children off to schools without electricity, glass in the windows or even chalk for the teacher to write on the blackboard. That’s life in the Solomon Islands, where hundreds of Queenslanders have worked since 2003 as part of the multi-national effort to restore civil order and infrastructure.

This was Phil Smith’s introducation to a segment on the "School Packs for the Solomon" project broadcast this morning on ABC local radio Breakfast Program." 

"Education remains a key issue. Uniting International Mission asked local people what they needed – and the answer was basic school supplies for the children. So ‘School Packs for the Solomon’s’ was zipped up," said Phil.

Interviewing  Queensland Uniting Church International Mission Consultant Heather den Houting together with Communications Manager Bruce Mullan who recently visited the Solomon Islands Phil spoke enthusiastically about the project.

Queensland families are being asked to buy a school backpack for $10.00. (The bags cost $6.00 and the other $4.00 will cover shipping costs.) Then it’s off to the shops in January to fill it with a few of the basics.

"No Palm Pilot computers here, just pencils, rulers and exercise books," said Phil.

Hard pressed to provide basic infrastructure, the Solomon Islands’ government has asked local churches to manage village schools.

‘School Packs for the Solomon’s’ aims to provide 450 packs for starters, with the aim of supplying as many as 70 schools.

Details and infrormation brochures will be available soon.

Get a copy of the brochure in PDF format

See the ABC radio story and more pictures online HERE.

To hear a mp3 file of the interview click HERE (845kb).

Photo : Conditions in the Solomon schools are basic