TravelManagers’ Karen Christie, representative for Woody Point, Queensland, has spent many years building a business that focuses on adventure tourism in Fiji. Eighteen months ago she decided it was time to give something back to the Fijian people, so she set to work creating a much-needed library at Fiji’s Deuba District School in Pacific Harbour. Recently, a chance meeting at a wedding in Fiji has given her the opportunity to actively and personally support that same Fijian community in an even bigger way.
“The biggest difference between a Fijian school and an Australian school like the one my daughter attends can be summed up in one word: resources. Deuba District School had minimal learning materials to draw from, they have four toilets for 170 kids, no canteen, no play equipment and only one rainwater tank.
Students at Deuba District School in Fiji’s Pacific Harbour received around 2,000 books for their new library, thanks to TravelManagers’ Karen Christie
Christie was in Fiji to oversee a wedding she had arranged, and struck up a conversation with one of the guests, who asked about her involvement in Fiji.
“I explained to him about the library we had built and the school’s desperate need for resources. It turned out that he was a Rotarian from Brisbane and that his club was seeking an international aid project to get involved with. He invited me to speak to his club, the club got excited and proposed to me that they would apply for a grant.”
That Rotarian was Craig Pratt, Director of Project Services at the Rotary Club of Pine Rivers Daybreak. He applied to the Head Office of Rotary International in the USA, who approved a grant of $15,000, half of which will be raised locally by the Club members.
Deuba District School’s Leone Yaragumudu expresses his gratitude for the assistance provided by TravelManagers’ Karen Christie and Brisbane’s Pine River Daybreak Rotary Club
“We were so inspired by Karen’s personal charitable work assisting school children in Fiji that we decided to jump on board and undertake a substantial project to improve the educational resources at the Deuba District School in Fiji. We are happy to prove that when you unite the power of one with the power of many you can make a real change to the lives of those less fortunate throughout the world.”
The Club will assist with fundraising and sourcing of materials and Club members will travel to Fiji to help with the construction of new toilet blocks, rainwater tanks and walkways, as well as fixing floorboards and windows and painting the school.
Leone Yaragamudu is the Projects Coordinator for Deuba District School. He describes Christie’s contribution as a dream come true for the students and staff.
“With minimal resources, the school and the students improvise a lot in their daily learning environment. Thanks to Karen, we now have a proper library that is stocked with more than 2000 books featuring a wide range of topics, and soon we will also have a helping hand with our basic daily school facility needs. The school is very grateful to Karen and her Rotary sponsors for their far-sightedness and the good heart to extend their helping hand.”
Christie says it’s essential to have good contacts in Fiji anyone else wants to help out in a similar way. Her years spent building a successful business in Fiji saw her ideally placed to make what she describes as a small difference in people’s lives.
TravelManagers’ Karen Christie provided beanbags for Deuba District School’s new library
Michael Gazal, TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, says Christie is an example of a personal travel manager who has spent years building a business and then using that business to get involved in a cause that is very personal to her.
“Her genuine, proactive approach and ability to engage clients is an inspiration to all personal travel managers and further demonstrates the flexibility and willingness of TravelManagers to encourage and support community involvement.”
For Christie, her experience with Deuba School has taught her the importance of taking a step back and being grateful for the things she has.
“I’ve learnt that you don’t have to change the whole world to make a difference.”
For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.