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You’ve heard of Fiji, right? It’s that little nugget of paradise in the South Pacific with champagne sand and crystal water scattered with starfish. It’s also where we go to rest and recuperate; loll on the beach and sip frosty cocktails by icy blue pools.
But, it could also be somewhere you visit to volunteer. To roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.
Whaaaat? Are you out of your mind? No beach?
Yes, plenty of beach and plenty of sunbathing. But for almost eight years the Fiji Outrigger Beach Resort (and one of the most popular and award-winning resorts in Fiji) has also been offering its support to the local communities via various voluntourism projects.
It’s a hybrid word for volunteering and tourism, whereby guests of the Fiji Outrigger Beach Resort also enlist their time and manpower to help build a better community (and future) for the local Fiji people.
Seven years ago the hotel asked to help the local Sigatoka Valley Conua School raise the funds (and work force) to construct a whole heap of facilities that the school desperately needed. Combined, Outrigger and their guests have since built a new library, computer lab, meeting bure and kindergarten.
So what’s next?
Guests are invited to help build two new classrooms at Conua School under the guidance of an experienced engineering team. Now that the school has grown to 125 students and 25 kindergarten children – partly due to Outrigger’s ongoing support – they are in dire need of extra classrooms.
But I don’t have any building experience!
No problem. You can leave all the technical work to the local experts, this is mostly about mucking in and helping out. This could be as easy as a bit of light sweeping - or as strenuous as digging the classroom’s foundations.
Is it better than an afternoon at the beach?
Well a day at the beach is never a bad idea, but this is a bucket-list opportunity to experience something a little bit niche. You’ll probably get to meet the school children and listen to their stories. Local community leaders will be on-site to talk to, and if past renovations are anything to go by, a lively sing-song can break out at any moment. It’s certainly not your everyday Fiji activity.
How much does it cost?
As of February 2017, but subject to change, Outrigger guests can visit the project on Tuesdays or Thursdays for NZ$85 per adult and NZ$55 per child. This includes return transportation, lunch and a visit to the Tavuni Hill Fort on your return home.
Does all my money go to Conua School?
Good question. And when it comes to voluntourism, all partakers should ask what percentage of their money is going directly to the project. Happily, with Outrigger, 70 per cent of payment goes towards paying for materials, while the remaining 30 per cent is retained to cover additional expenses.
How do I sign up?
Pop in-store or give us a call. One of our HOT travel consultants can add this amazing experience to your stay at Fiji Outrigger Beach Resort. The program is only available to guests staying at the Outrigger so let us help you add it to your next Fiji holiday.
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