RELEASE NUMBER 131/16
SIGATOKA, FIJI – A kindergarten in a remote Fijian school built mainly by Australian and New Zealand tourists has been named after Adelaide Crows AFL player, Eddie Betts.
The kindergarten, built at a cost of AUD$50,000 (US$37,400), was sponsored by Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort as a community tourism project.
More than 2000 resort guests donated some of their holiday time to work on the project at the Conua Primary School in the Sigatoka Valley. Construction started in March this year. Among them was Eddie Betts who, with a number of other Crows players, worked on the kindergarten project while holidaying at the resort over the past year.
Kini Sarai, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort activities manager, said the kindergarten, officially opened by the Minister for Education Doctor Mahendra Reddy on Nov. 26, was a dream come true for local villagers. “The emotion that we saw on the faces of the elders when they saw the completed building is something that will stay with me. For ordinary villagers, raising funds to send their kids to school is already a struggle and raising funds to build a building like the kindergarten would take years. For Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort to turn up and say this is what we wish to build for you is the thing of dreams,” Kini said.
Eddie Betts said he was honored that the kindergarten carried his name. “It makes me feel connected to this community and the thought of all the young children who will start their education in this building brings me enormous joy. We have loved working with Outrigger Fiji on this kindergarten project to benefit the beautiful community of Fiji.”
“Cultural sensitivity is important and we believe resort General Manager Peter Hopgood and the Outrigger family have established respectful and trusting relationships with the local community.
“The Adelaide Football Club players, coaches and families who came to work on the kindergarten have all taken home special memories from working with Outrigger on this project – they all vow to return again next year!
“Congratulations to the Outrigger on giving something back,” Eddie said.
Mr. Hopgood said the building of the kindergarten was an excellent example of community tourism at work. “We are committed to giving back to the local community and the building of the kindergarten exemplifies that commitment,” he said.
The opening of the kindergarten coincided with the opening of the Conua School’s Jonathan McDaniel Library. The 3000-book library has been donated by the widow of Jonathan McDaniel who, with her husband, was a regular visitor to Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort.
Mrs. Jennifer McDaniel from Omaha in the United States said it had been an honor and privilege to fund The Jonathan McDaniel Library. “My late husband was very passionate about reading and making sure that everyone, both young and old, had access to books. Funding this library ensures that all will have access to all sorts of books and I’m very honored to fulfill Jonathan’s dream and to keep his memory alive through books,” she said.
The resort’s next community tourism project will involve construction of a trade training workshop at the Sigatoka Special Needs School.