Last month, 13 employees from our Sanitarium group in Australia, New Zealand and China, including our own Nicole Morrison (Vitality Works’ senior client partner in NZ and winner of our 2019 SOVA award) visited Vanuatu to support the work of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA Australia).
They participated in the Livelihood Empowerment and Family Food Security Project in the remote Village of Tangoa Island in Santo which focussed on training communities to grow, store, prepare and sell nutritious foods to enable their communities to thrive.
ADRA’s work in Tangoa Island Village has helped to address root causes of poor family nutrition and bring about changes.
The majority of rural communities in Vanuatu rely on smallholder farming of various crops such as coconut for copra, cacao, kava, vegetables and greens, and on livestock, to generate an income.
In these communities, farmers use traditional slash and burn techniques, clearing the forest and increasing land use.
Production, preservation and distribution of crops is often challenging. This has caused a reliance on highly processed store-bought convenience foods and an increase in the rates of diabetes amongst the population.
The trip was the latest Spirit of Sanitarium Awards where recipients were invited to participate in an international development project.
The team, many of whom were only meeting for the first time, worked on a variety of projects and approached the work with incredible enthusiasm. They poured concrete, carried heavy materials to build fencing, dug holes and cut timber to build a greenhouse and cleared overgrown areas to prepare the soil to plant veggie gardens.
It was challenging in the hot humid conditions but the team completed the project in great spirits. The team also did a fantastic job of interacting with the community and playing sport with the kids.
“I feel extremely honoured to have been a part of this project for the Tangoa community. It was a life changing experience that I will never forget.” Nicole Morrison – SOVA Award Recipient 2019
Sanitarium supported the project with a donation of $30,000 which went towards the costs of the project work and materials.
“Serve Others” is a value deeply rooted in our organisation and we are proud that our team was able to help these communities.
We look forward to continuing this great and important work in 2020.
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