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Graduate starts education centre in Vanuatu

Kristyn Comino and Arpana Bothra

17 March 2014: University of Canberra alumna Susan Alexander led the construction of an education centre in Vanuatu which has provided new facilities for local students in the small village of Port Resolution.

Port Resolution

Community members from Port Resolution, Vanuatu in the new hall at the opening of the centre. Photo supplied

After seven years of planning, fundraising and construction; a new hall, kitchen and library were built at Port Resolution School on the remote Tanna Island in Vanuatu late last year.

New library

Port Resolution worked together to build the centre, including a new library. Photo supplied

Mrs Alexander organised the project in her role as a teacher at Telopea Park School, with the school raising $114,000 for the materials and Rotary International overseeing their transport, with the Port Resolution community then working together to build the new facility.

Susan Alexander

Susan Alexander speaks at the opening. Photo supplied

"The village of Port Resolution is very proud of their new education centre, as it demonstrates that communities working together can make a difference for generations to come," Mrs Alexander said.

"It is very rewarding to see the efforts of Australian students enhancing the education opportunities of students in Vanuatu. It is basically a journey of students helping students."

Mrs Alexander said it was a "huge honour" to be invited to cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony in November last year, in front of representatives from the Vanuatu Ministry of Education.

Having graduated from the University with a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) in 1990, Mrs Alexander won a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011. In 1992 she was a recipient of a UK/Australia Science Fellowship for her innovative contribution to science education, and in 2000 she was selected to be a torchbearer for the Sydney Olympic Games.