Can I help?
We'd like to think anyone can pitch in to lend a hand. All positive contributions gratefully received. If you are interested here's some ideas as to how you can be involved:
* C-WOOFERS - a far more exciting and adventurous marine version of the popular WOOFER concept - if you're keen to visit Solodamu and experience the real culture of a Fijian village as well as learn about boat building and sailing then this is for you - be warned you'll have to do some hard work and make a contribution to your living expenses in exchange for the opportunity to experience living in cramped quarters with limited power and water - the REAL Fiji - As Ainara (check out her blog) told us one week she was watching discovery channel and the next week she was there in person, fishing with the ladies in the village, gardening and having the time of her life.
* SAIL UP TO SOLODAMU ON YOUR OWN BOAT - there's lots of sailors and cruisers out there who would relish the opportunity to do something worthwhile during their travels and get to build lasting relationships with villagers rather then visiting the same tourist-spots as other yachties. Dawn and Christopher on their yacht Alaskason enjoyed themselves so much in Solodamu they stayed a month and made great friends and made a significant contribution to Solodamu village (getting the ladies all fired up to make handicrafts, passing on valuable business management skills, and sailing knowledge).
If you are thinking of sailing to the Pacific we have had lots of requests from ladies in the villages on Kadavu and other islands for bras (often a luxury item they just can't afford or access). in 2012 we brought up 3,000 bras kindly donated by kiwi GirlGuides which we delivered to the Fiji GirlGuides and Fiji Cancer Society which are being used as part of a breast cancer awareness campaign. See Ali's blog from August 2012 for more info. We have since made contact with another charity "Uplift" based in NZ and Australia which specialises in collecting bras for women of the Pacific and they have plenty of bras which need delivering. Check out their website (see web links) and contact them directly if you have room for a few (or lots) bras to deliver.
* GIVE US YOUR BOAT - if you've got a boat that you no longer use and would like to donate her to a good cause - how about letting Sailing for Sustainability take her over? We can arrange for experienced and qualified sailors to crew sailing boats up to Fiji just as we did with Lia Fal - even if she's a small boat we can get her delivered to Solodamu onboard one of the yachts already involved in the project - maybe a small sailing dinghy for the village kids to sail on weekends or a hobbycat for the boys to challenge the girls to a race?
* DONATIONS - any sailing related gear (ropes, sails, wet weather gear, charts, mooring equipment etc); equipment useful to a small relatively remote village (solar panels, books, first aid kit/medicines, tools, reading glasses, and so on); skills (especially if you can offer ongoing support/mentoring) like small business management, accountancy, webpage design, diving, sailing, marketing. Check out the Bosun's List for the materials we need for building and operating Solodamu's sailing catamaran. Gold and other treasure is of course most welcome - Sailing for Sustainabilty is in the process of becoming a registered charity and by the end of the year all monetary donations will qualify for tax credits.
* TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO BECOME A C-WOOFER, SAIL TO SOLODAMU, GIVE US THEIR BOAT, OR MAKE A DONATION
Any help will be gratefully received by both Solodamu and Sailing for Sustainability.
For the Village:
Books (school books for primary students at Tavuki School and general literature for villagers)
Bras (especially the larger sizes - but all sizes will be appreciated) (special request from the women in Solodamu)
Sports equipment (especially boots/shoes)
First aid kit / medicines (special request from the Solomu village nurse)
Energy-efficient technology (LEDs, 12v Batteries, solar panels, wiring, switches, etc)
Building supplies (fastenings, tools, etc)
For the Boat:
Fittings and fastenings (all or any)
Cleats, winches, blocks, shackles, etc
Paint, Antifoul, glues, resin, glass, tape
Construction Safety Gear (goggles, gloves, overalls, boots, ear muffs, breathing masks)
Tools - all or any from drill bits to sawmills (if you've got an old Tanner, bench saw or buzzer we'll work out how to get it up here)
Cutting and grinding discs
New or old sails, stays, winch handles, etc
Rope (all or any)
Sailing Safety Gear (life jackets, harnesses, liferafts, etc)
Navigational equipment (e.g. sextants, dividers, binnoculars, charts, books, GPS, compasses)
Diesel 40hp outboard
Anything that might be useful for building a boat on a beach in Fiji
Pots of Gold, chests of emeralds and Pieces of Eight