TIRELESS: Grafton's Ruth Donoghue, back, with Year 1 students from the Ratu Meli Memorial School on Fiji's Nacula Island with teacher Sioli Finekaso Kotobalavu. Ruth has been orchestrating equipment drives, including computer and sports equipment donated by Clarence Valley businesses and residents.
TIRELESS: Grafton's Ruth Donoghue, back, with Year 1 students from the Ratu Meli Memorial School on Fiji's Nacula Island with teacher Sioli Finekaso Kotobalavu. Ruth has been orchestrating equipment drives, including computer and sports equipment donated by Clarence Valley businesses and residents.

POWER UP: Remote island school needs our generosity

GRAFTON woman Ruth Donoghue is continuing her campaign to help out the school children of a remote island in Fiji.

Ruth's first campaign helped the young students catch up to 21st-century technology with a shipment of donated second-hand and reconditioned laptops and hard drives followed by the more recent sporting equipment drive to increase outdoor activity.

"The sporting drive is going well. We have some response after the story, which is great, but we'd love some more and are still collecting pre-loved equipment and sporting gear like uniforms and shoes,” she said.

Ruth has recently returned from a trip to Nacula Island to help ensure the computer room at the Ratu Meli Memorial School has the capacity to continue to run the equipment kindly donated by the people of the Clarence.

"We needed to determine what size solar system they will need to keep it running. Currently they are not able to run the laptops and desktops all together in class as they draw so much power and the school does not have enough backup. There is enough for a few hours a day and a few computers at a time at the moment.”

Free time on the Clarence-donated computers during the students' lunch break.
Free time on the Clarence-donated computers during the students' lunch break.

Ruth said a stand-alone (off-grid) solar system with inverter and battery back-up would make this a reality for the struggling school. "The old inverter blew in Term 2 so the school had no power at all until recently.”

She said the lack of reliable power also sees an absence of refrigeration at the school, which is essential, especially due to the boarding component of the educational services they provide.

"It's all the things we take for granted over here. If they can get access to an uninterrupted power supply, the government and education department can provide them with whitegoods, so getting this off-grid system in place is so important to them for not only educational reasons but also for health.”

Ruth said the school gets food donations from the local resort, which was 10 minutes away by fast boat, but it needed to be consumed on the day.

"Otherwise there is no provision to store or freeze excess fruit and fish when they are plentiful. The dream of an ice cream on a special occasion takes major organisation.”

After struggling with a way to hep Ruth decided to set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money to upgrade the school's solar system.

"It would a life-changing addition to the school. We can't afford one ourselves so we thought we would put it out there and ask the public for support. Every little bit helps.”

To donate visit Ruth's page https://www.gofundme.com/2qdra96c



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