St Patrick’s College is the only Anglican school in Vanuatu, situated on the island of Ambae. It is co-educational and draws students from all over the country, but the eruptions of 2017 and 2018 on the island where it is situated forced it to close, with staff and students among the 13,000 people relocated to other islands.
Our provincial Association of Anglican Women had been working with Anglican Missions to fundraise to build a new dormitory at the school, but with the ongoing volcanic activity, the Association pivoted towards funding movable resources for the students there, so they could continue their education in amongst the chaos and turmoil.
Shelley Vette is the AAW Overseas and Outreach Convenor and she writes in the August edition of the Association’s magazine that the funding will now be directed towards new bedding and furniture to ensure that the girls who are boarding at the school are clean and safe, and text books and stationery for the students.
The eruptions blanketed the island with ash which affected the school’s water supply, grounds and buildings. The Anglican Church of Melanesia has worked closely with the Vanuatu Government in the clean up process, and residents are drifting back to the island to try and re-establish their livelihoods, but for the school, the future lies elsewhere. The school has been re-opened, but is beginning the process of finding land in Luganville, the second-largest city in the country, on the island of Santo. Because of the difficulty in finding appropriate land, this may take up to a decade.
Whilst this project has been initiated by the AAW, it is part of a broader response from Anglican Missions in New Zealand and their counterparts in Australia and Melanesia, and anyone can make a donation. Donations can be made to the provincial AAW bank account, which is:
- Account Name: NZAAW
- Account Number: 03-0915-0026110-000
- Reference: Ambae
Source material: Circle Magazine, Vol 51, No. 3 August 2019