The Rotary Club of Tavenui is looking for support from other D9920 Clubs to help raise the last few dollars that are required to complete the fund raising to rebuild the school in Dreketi Village, Oamea Island Fiji.
 • Six years ago - February 2016 - Cyclone Winston ripped through FIJI. It caused some damage to the village school but over the next few months the school was repaired, repainted and all was good.
• Nine months later the wet season with extremely heavy rain caused 15 landslides around the island of Qamea. The most likely cause of the landslips was that Cyclone Winston had stripped most of the trees off the steep hill side. The outcome of the landslips was a number of houses destroyed and the school almost tipped on its face and destroyed. 
• Timing can often be everything in this case it was really bad. All of the aid from Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Japan etc to help rebuild schools & public buildings post cyclone Winston had been allocated or spent. The Education Department had nothing left and the school board were told it would take three years for their school to be rebuilt.
• Three years roll by and the 50 students are being taught in a temporary building more suited as a chook shed. They also have access to an old church. The new school building still not started, due to a host of reasons beyond the Villages control.
This is where .
2020 begins with the Covid pandemic which instantly kills Fiji‘s economy through tourism and the start of the school build.
In December 2020 Fiji had a 2nd category five cyclone. Yasa roars through the north of Fiji and destroys more schools, public buildings, houses etc. This was followed in January with a category four cyclone again with massive amounts of rain and extensive flooding and more damage
When the Dreketi school board approached the Education Department towards the end of cyclone season 2021 to ask when the new school would be started, they were informed “there was no start date, there was NO money!” Dreketi would not be getting a new school. They had dropped off the list. • The question put to us was: “CAN ROTARY HELP US? We have nowhere else to go. There’s no one we can turn to please!”
I was handed a set of plans for a light weight and timber construction temporary school which after careful assessment was dispatched to the bin.
As a professional builder I was able to fire endless questions at the two board members and determine what would be the absolute minimum size building classrooms etc. Why would I insist on minimum size building? Because of cost. There is no point in having a grand plan that is not affordable. ROTARY is not a bank where we could just write a million dollar cheque. Currently the children need a school. All the children from years 1 through to 6 have no memory of the old school.
Stage two would be a second building containing three classrooms. We then planned a trip across to Dreketi and in the meantime I worked on a set of sketch plans for the school board and headteacher’s approval. • Since that meeting in 2021 when I postponed my retirement as a builder again, we have:
1) visited Dreketi village,
2) met with of the school board and head teacher. We discussed and revised the proposed sketch plan, we determined a suitable and safe 3 site well clear of landslides for a new cyclone rated school and pegged it out.
Sketch plans were presented to the education infrastructure department and the Northern Division Town Planning and Building Department. The Ministry of Education was suitably impressed and extremely happy that a school was going to be built. The Building Dept needed a full set of working drawings professionally done.
Project Cost & Fundraising I have completed a comprehensive bill of quantities covering all of the materials for the project. We have sent out lists to suppliers for quotations and thereby determine total cost of the project. Including labour and a 5% contingency, the total cost of the project is $225,000 FJD The Laucala School Board (Dreketi School) has set up a Trust Fund with $100,000 FJD from the Laucala Resort (owned by Red Bull) where many of the villagers work. The Rotary Club of Taveuni has committed $40,000 FJD. With almost $100,000 AUD already in the bank, we feel very confident of raising the last $50,000 AUD back in our old District. See update on fundraising below. Would your club be able to assist us get this project over the line?
Construction: A local Fijian builder Yava is ready to start. He came across to site with Helene and I and helped determine the new site. Yava has just completed a new three classroom block at our local village (Naselesele) - (photo herewith) ahead of schedule and under budget. So Yava and his team will build the school, I will manage the project, supervise the build and authorise payments from the school trust.
My background: I have spent the past 59 years in the building industry and most of it as a professional builder. I have been a member of the Housing Industry Association and still am. My company Brownlowe won two Victorian and one national HIA building awards. I think I am reasonably qualified for this project albeit a bit old. This building would also used as a safe haven during cyclones, a village meeting hall, and of course the verandah is the perfect covered grandstand for the local island rugby matches. Please note Rob Edwards OAM an all round great bloke, is assisting with the fundraising through a Fiji holiday raffle. Check out Rob is a member of Rotary Club in Sydney. He runs a foundation It’s Time Foundation and they provide solar power to off grid schools across Fiji. Rob has raised sufficient money through his Fiji solar raffle to purchase and ship all the solar gear to Dreketi Village for the new school. We would be happy to discuss further this great project. Cheers Peter Brown Rotary Club of Taveuni Island. Melbourne 0408 366 68
Their school was destroyed nearly 6 years ago. The heartbreaking issue is that this small village with over 50 students have not had a school and the education department has forgotten them. Our Rotary club wants to help them rebuild their school.
I have attached the information sheet we have been circulating and that gives you a good background on the project.
The cost of the rebuild is FJD $225,000.  So far we have raised FJD $202,000 We are chasing our last FJD $23,000 or say NZD $17,000
We feel it’s a great achievement spread over many clubs. Currently there are 16 Rotary Clubs that have donated and those clubs are spread across 5 Rotary Districts (9810,9820, 9920, 9930 and 9685)