“Light Up Vanuatu” Service Learning Project

Year 5 students at St Columba Anglican School Port Macquarie have showcased their spirit of generosity, participating in a Service Project “Light Up Vanuatu.”

The goal of the Light Up Vanuatu campaign is to reduce extreme energy poverty in Vanuatu, our Pacific Island neighbours. Funds raised throughout the campaign will purchase SolarBuddy solar lights, which our students will have the opportunity to assemble and send to children in Vanuatu.

Year 5 students at SCAS have had the service-learning project integrated with their Science ‘Energy’ Unit and Sustainability studies. Students engage in assembling solar lights, which enable the children to continue with their schoolwork after dusk, as well as experiencing agency through global citizenship enterprise as they understand what the Sustainable Development Goals are and how they can work towards them. Students learn about the effects of energy poverty on student learning and the broader impacts on the environment, health, and family economics in Vanuatu.

SCAS students have responded with great excitement to the initiative and came up with many unique ideas to fundraise. These contributions included collecting cans from the School’s annual celebration carnival, ‘Columba Day’ for Return and Earn funds to donate. Individual students mobilised additional fundraising efforts, including jewellery making, refereeing local sport, taking on extra chores, gardening, and baking.

To further inspire students, Year 5 and Sustainability teachers arranged for a lesson to be conducted in the dark to emulate the conditions of their peers in Vanuatu using only wind-up torches to illuminate their work. Students noted the challenges that this lesson presented, including noise, difficulties concentrating, and messy handwriting, which inhibited producing quality work.

While the lesson was a novelty for our students, they were only able to manage an hour. Many students remarked that they could not imagine what the 47,000 children living in energy poverty in Vanuatu endure daily, and the least they could do is fundraise for solar lights. 235,000 lives experience the positive impact of the Light Up Vanuatu Campaign, with over 102,900,000 study hours generated for students.

“Learn to generously share what you have with those who ask for help, and don’t close your heart to the one who comes to borrow from you” Matthew 5:42.

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