New Project Will Help Kindy Kids Thrive in Tonga
Money raised from ‘Thrive Tonga’ will help restore the 3 Salvation Army kindergartens after the eruption and tsunami, and further develop this ground-breaking work with Tongan children.
‘Preschool education is still relatively undervalued and under-acknowledged in Tonga,’ explains Captain Catherine Walker, director of Women’s Ministries in Tonga. ‘But there is a growing appreciation of the importance of those early years in the development of a child. We provide learning and developmental opportunities for children, which have been acknowledged as beneficial in setting children up for success academically and in life.’
With 2 established kindergartens, The Salvation Army has been at the forefront of preschool education for many years in Tonga. Last year, Queen Nanasipau’u approached the Army to establish a third kindergarten, as part of an initiative that would place the Kindy at the heart of a community hub and health centre.
‘The Queen has placed her trust in us to provide a safe, stimulating learning environment that is both bi-lingual and holistic. Our programme has a strong Christian emphasis and we’re continually seeking new ways to improve our programme and give our teachers professional development,’ says Catherine.
The kindergarten worst hit by the tsunami was part of the Nuku’alofa Corps compound, which was inundated with seawater. The kindy lost resources, and there has been extensive damage to the outdoor play area and equipment.
The Kolovai kindy was saved by from the worst of the tsumani damage, but the surrounding area in north-west Tongatapu has been especially devastated.
‘Everyone has experienced the trauma of the eruption and tsunami. The Army’s “usual” operations have taken on a whole new look as we’ve had to clean-up, help with the distribution of aid and provide pastoral support.'
The newest kindy is in Pea, a large community with no current preschool education. ‘The space we will operate from belongs to the Royal family for the use of the Pea community, and we have outfitted and resourced this with the basics to get the Kindy started,’ says Catherine.
All schools in Tonga are currently closed, but it’s hoped the kindergartens will reopen again in Term 2. Meanwhile, the team are hard at work cleaning up the damage and restoring the facilities.
She says no one has been able to escape the effects of the disaster. ‘Everyone has experienced the trauma of the eruption and tsunami. The Army’s “usual” operations have taken on a whole new look as we’ve had to clean-up, help with the distribution of aid and provide pastoral support,’ says Catherine.
‘Thrive Tonga’ will build on the fundraising efforts of women in the Midland Division in 2020, who raised money to upgrade Kolovai Kindergarten. ‘It has made a world of difference to the experience for our children and teachers,’ reflects Catherine. ‘Now, with “Thrive Tonga” we have an opportunity for creativity and discovery. We continue to be available to people after the tsunami, and will continue to help children in Tonga thrive through all these circumstances.’
We want to hear your fundraising ideas!
We would love to hear your fundraising ideas, so we can share it and inspire each other!
Meanwhile, here’s just a few ideas inspired by the colour and imagination of kindy kids:
- Hold a paint party: get a group together to learn how to create a simple painting, led by a local artist.
- Create calendars to sell, made from artwork by kids in your corps or community.
- Have a corps carnival, similar to a school fair, with games and bake sales.
- Have a good old fashioned sausage sizzle.
- Sell hand-knitted kids’ beanies for winter.
- Hold a family movie night: get families together and singalong to ‘Encanto’ or another family-friendly film.
- Have a book and toy sale: What better way to clean out the kids’ closest and make money for Tongan kids at the same time?!
Email your fundraising ideas to Ingrid, at email@example.com.