This project was established with the help of Peter Cole from the Rotary Club of Knox. Thirteen children at risk took part in the project conducted by Ken Wall, Rotary Club of Templestowe, in August 2009.
The drawings completed by the children in Fiji reflected dreams similar to those demonstrated by the children miles away in Kilema in Tanzania. This was the initial ABCD Project conducted by ABCD founder Frank Smith from Toronto. Regardless of location, the children wanted an education so that they could do more for their families, help their struggling parent(s) and ensure a better future. Despite the tremendous difficulties they had experienced in their short lives, the children were full of hope and their smiles showed the expectation of a better tomorrow. The children’s drawings, photographs and a short narrative on their situation were framed, as shown above, and are ready to be displayed. Supporters were found for all 13 children and nearly AU$7,000 was raised to help the children through their next year at school.
In addition to the children’s drawings, the 13 children involved at the beginning of the project produced a canvas ‘tapestry’ showing their handprints, their aspirations and a message to their supporters. This amazing piece of artwork was produced under the leadership of Viklesh, one of the older children in the project group.
The entire school also produced a huge banner with over 200 handprints on it! This banner is used as a display item for conferences and functions where ABCD has a presence.
This project has partially funded Amos, Danny, David, Joseph, Nehar, Patricia, Samuel, Shareen, Sitiveni and Thomas to attend the Nasouri Baptist Christian Academy. Krishneel attends the Indira Ghandi Memorial School and Asesale attends Dudley Intermediate. Viklesh started (July 2010) a vocational traineeship in agriculture at the Champagnat Institute. Further children were added to the project and were supported from Australia by the Rotary Club of Templestowe throughout 2010 and 2011.
This was the first ABCD Pilot Project and was completed in December 2011. Other organisations continued the sponsorship and support of the children involved. A total of 38 children over two and a half years were assisted to stay in school and 37 were still in school when ABCD involvement ceased.