Cycling for Children: Takuilau College, Tonga Br Charlie Randle sm & Marist Seminarians in Rome

Dear Marist Mission Centre Friends,

Br. Charles ‘Charlie’ Randle sm celebrated his 82nd birthday in late November.  He is still ready, willing and able to ride his bike for 500+ kms to support our Cycling for Children Appeal for the restoration of a classroom block at Takuilau College, Tonga.

Charlie with two knee replacements has modified his bike riding routine.  He now rides his bike along the bike pathways on the banks of the Brisbane River for 25 kms per day four days a week.

Br. Charlie will again be joined by a group of our Marist seminarians completing the final years of their studies in Rome.  These students are from Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, PNG (Bougainville), Senegal, Cameroon, Togo, Mexico, and New Zealand.  When the European weather warms up they will ‘Ride for Takuilau’ in Rome.

Takuilau College is a secondary college for girls and boys with 453 students and 25 teachers. Cyclones are a reality of life in Oceania and cause significant damage to life, buildings and classrooms.

The school has been in existence for 25 years and is undertaking a program to cyclone proof  the classrooms.  This proposal is for the restoration of a classroom block with two classrooms and a teacher’s office for each classroom.  The restoration will be according to cyclone proof standards.

Our Marist priest, Fr. Viliami Kiola sm, is Deputy Principal of the College with Sr. Kilistina Lui, Sister of Our Lady of Nazareth, as the Principal. The project has the support of our Oceania Marist Provincial.

The Marist Mission Centre again invites you to sponsor Br. Charlie and our Marist seminarians in Rome to enhance the educational opportunities of the secondary school students at Takuilau College, Tonga.

With our thanks for your kindhearted support.

Cyclones are a regular and increasing reality in Oceania and there are many other climate challenges facing these Islands in our region.

Takuilau College was established in 1975 and is one of the main Catholic secondary Colleges in Tonga.   The College and facilities have withstood countless cyclones over the years.  Some buildings and classrooms have been damaged or destroyed while others are in need of restoration.

The former College Principal recently stated: ‘Cyclone Gita in 2018 disintegrated our school programmes inside and outside the classrooms – We used, for four years, the verandah, the mango* tree, the kāsia tree, the ‘ohai tree and all the trees in Takuilau College for our classrooms ‘.

The good news is that the main school buildings have been restored with the support of the international community.

Takuilau is now undertaking the second stage of their recovery by ‘cyclone proofing’ existing classrooms.  This double classroom block is no longer strong enough to withstand a cyclone and therefore is not safe to be used as classrooms.

The project is part of an overall Master Plan of the school and has the active support of the Past Pupils Association.  Safe and sound buildings are vital for the effective implementation of the College education programs.

Education will provide young people with employment opportunities especially if they move overseas to live and work.  Education will also enable these young people to address the many challenges facing their country and their future with hope.  The Catholic community in Tonga and overseas has a strong commitment to education.