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Port Augusta Rotarians supporting communities in the Solomon Islands

Members and friends of Rotary Port Augusta saw their goal reach fruition in October 2011 by undertaking their first ever 'physical' International Project in the Solomon Islands.
The team of 8 participated in a RAWCS partnership with AusAID to erect a two bedroom steel-framed house aimed at supporting a Malaria program on the small island of Tulagi.  The team was assisted by locals to embrace a cross sharing of skills and expertise in support of building the communities capacity.
In addition to this main project, the club also spent considerable time and effort fundraising to provide 32 portable solar lighting units to outlying health facilities in the more remote locations around the Islands, something that is certainly needed and was openly welcomed.  The units consisted of a Solar panel, rechargeable battery, 3 LED lights and cabling.  All of this was shipped in pieces and put together while over in the Solomons.
Rotary Port Augusta was also able to donate 10 computers, a printer, projector and various associated consumables to the school and kindy with the money they raised, a lot of which came from the local community of Port Augusta. 
In addition to the physical projects, there was also considerable professional exchange.  For example amongst the team were members who had expertise in children's and babies health.  They spent some time at the local hospital exchanging information about health practices. 
“As you can see, all of these individual activities were associated with building bright futures for Solomon Island children and that's exactly what our aim was” said past President Linley Shine, “build bright futures by working with local Solomon Island people in support of skill transfer, community development and sustainability.” 
The project however did not come without many challenges, many of which were linked to logistics, weather and cultural barriers.  While the club and team worked through these, it just emphasises the need for contingency planning and Rotary Port Augusta cannot reiterate this enough if anyone.  They were also very thankful for the efforts of PDG Peter Thomas who supported the team in their preparation.
“The club can be very proud of their International humanitarian efforts”, said Linley and concluded by highlighting that “while there were many people who contributed in various ways, none of this would have been possible if not for our amazing team leader Paul Skapin.  Paul was the mastermind of the whole project and without his efforts and commitment; this just would not have happened”.