Education resources from Canterbury destined for schools in Tonga

01 November 2021

A shipping container will leave the University of Canterbury (UC) campus on 3 November full of education resources and supplies to support several new classrooms in Tonga.


Sustainable Development Goals 4 - Quality Education

The 40-foot container will include a range of donated educational resources, including: 250 desks and chairs and 30 large bookcases from UC; 40 desktop computers from Cyclone Computers; 60 desktop computers from Christchurch City Council; 40 desktop computers from Burnside High School; 40 primary school desks from St Joseph’s School; plus numerous items from other sources, such as books, football boots, and sports equipment. The container is scheduled to arrive in Tonga on 24 November, with the resources distributed to schools by the Tonga Ministry of Education.

This is the latest initiative from an EcoCARE Pacific Trust and University of Canterbury collaboration to help address shortages of educational and health resources in schools and hospitals of many Pacific Island nations.

Research Fellow for the UC National Centre for Research on Europe, and Co-Founder of EcoCARE Dr Russell Taylor says the latest shipment will help to resource over 50 new educational facilities in Tonga.

“Each year since 2006 we have sent at least one container, with the goods distributed amongst needy schools in an equitable way to enhance the Ministry’s capacity to teach. During recent conversations with the Ministry of Education in Tonga it was mentioned that they are building 52 new intermediate school classrooms and they asked whether we could support with resourcing – so with the generous help of local organisations we were able to make it happen,” he says.

“This is a practical, ecological solution to an environmental and human-related problem as it is delivering much-needed resources, requested by the recipients, which would otherwise end up in e-waste or general waste. Over the years, we have been able to send thousands of computers, desks, chairs, bookcases, books and numerous other items.”

EcoCARE and UC are also working on other projects to assist with capability building in disadvantaged nations from an ecological perspective, including establishing a mussel farm research project in Tonga; a vertical gardens prototype project for communities in Palestine; and a lift device for people with paraplegia and tetraplegia – to name a few.

UC Communications team, media@canterbury.ac.nz, Ph: (03) 369 3631 or 027 503 0168

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