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Fiji Foundation
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Fiji Foundation

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Wananavu Kadavu started up in 2009 quite by accident. Two of my sons went to Fiji to help with a small village on Kadavu Island. They helped build a basketball court, repaired school buildings and homes in the villages. When they were finished working with this group they wanted to give something back to the people who housed them, fed them and had became family to them.

Our plan was to build a small library, but their need was water. Funny that in the country that produces the highest volume of bottled water is not accessible to most of Fiji. So the library turned into one water project for one village. My sons are builders, never having done anything like this they assured me that working with the locals they could do it.

It was a jump of faith. Starting with finishing a project the Fiji Government had started but ran out of funds. We still wanted to build a dam, water tanks, plumb to the village the men had lived. So now our one project turned into our second project. This was from start to finish, working side by side with the locals in the village. It was a success, and somewhat of a miracle. Through this we worked with the local health inspector.

We started getting requests from other villages in Fiji. The first 2 were funded by my family and a few friends. We could not continue doing this out of pocket, so the choice was go home or start a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Our 3rd project and largest to date, the Kavala Health Clinic serving around 3000 people. We received help and worked with the ministry of health. They supplied us with government shipping, housing for our project manager, Ben Sorensen. Ben was given 3 more years to his existing work permit. This saved us thousands of dollars, still our main area of need is raising funds so we can continue our work. We will be having our 3rd Annual Wananavu Kadavu Golf Tournament in September. Our next project is the village of Solotavui in Kavala Bay.

It has been a rough road but well worth the bumps. The support we have received for a far away island in the South Pacific has been amazing. The thought of most people is, why does Fiji need water? The world buys water from Fiji! With more awareness of the water needs around the world, and in 3rd world countries we can help bring safe drinking water to what many call Paradise.

To get back to your question...

Our biggest joy was working side by side with the locals of each village. Getting to know them in their own environment. Living with the locals really makes the projects more personal.

There are also drawbacks of living in a village. You see first hand what they don't have and you want to give them everything. We had to step back and decide we were there to bring water into the villages, that was our gift to the people. Things became less cumbersome when we just consecrated on our real mission.

Our connections are why we are still working in Fiji, we had many road blocks and I'm sure we will have many in the future. It was by chance we meet most of our connections.

I hope this answers some question, I tend to get excited when talking about our work.

All the best,

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Educational Foundation for the Children of Fiji SM 501c3
Here is the story in summer 2004, Jaimi Wachniak, our Founder's daughter, returned home to Chicago from Fiji, where she had been a People to People Student Ambassador exchange student. 

Now get this, it soon became obvious that the Fijians and their amazing village, Cuvu, had captured her heart. Upon hearing her daughter's stories, Carol became captivated, too, and resolved to do something about the Fijian children's need for a better school facility. 

Look at it this way, shortly after she began her infamously aggressive networking campaign for this project, Carol met Ho Yun. Ho was so intrigued that soon after he invited the Californian and British Architect, Jocelyn Mackay, to donate insight and guidance for the facilities design. 

Now at this point in June 2005, by personal invitation from the Provincial Fijian leader, Chief Ratu, Ho and Jocelyn flew to Fiji together and met with Apenisa, the Nadroga Navosa School principal, and Ratu Sakiusa Makutu, the Chief, for a tour of the existing facilities. 

But guess what? Jocelyn realized immediately that the current school could not be modified to meet the needs of the expanded educational program and the plan for open enrollment. Jocelyn, Ho and Apenisa also agreed that any new site needed to be clear of all religious, ethnic, and political ties in an independent land trust and they approached Chief Ratu, the Provincial Fijian leader, for help. 

You are going to love this, the Chief generously offered to donate 100 acres and asked Jocelyn to choose the best site. Think about what this means, Architects rarely have such an opportunity, and Jocelyn delighted in selecting a rural site of lush tropical forest vegetation with magnificent views of the Pacific. 

What's more also has access to services for water and power, and extensive expansion possibilities for future generations of Fijians.

And that's just for starters ... read more