Cycling for Children: Tolomako Mission, Big Bay, Santo Vanuatu Br Charlie Randle sm & Marist Seminarians in Rome

Dear Marist Mission Centre Friends,

Br. Charles ‘Charlie’ Randle sm celebrated his 81st 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 building of a new primary school classroom block at Tolomako Mission, Big Bay, Santo, Vanuatu.

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

Br Charlie will again be joined by some of our Marist seminarians studying for the priesthood in Rome.  These students are completing the final years of seminary studies and when the weather warms up will ‘Ride for Tolomako in Rome’.

Tolomako Mission, Big Bay, Santo, Vanuatu is in a remote and disadvantaged area of Big Bay where the people live off the land. The current school buildings are built from bush materials and cater for 130 students from aged 5 to 11 years with 6 teachers.

The mission is conducted by Marist Fathers with the support of the local people.  Fr. Eneriko Nacolarara sm from Fiji is Parish Priest and he is looking forward to the appointment of other Marist community members this year.

The Marist Mission Centre again invites you to sponsor Br. Charlie and our Marist seminarians in Rome to raise funds to enhance the educational opportunities for the primary school students at Tolomako Mission, Big Bay, Santo, Vanuatu

Big Bay Mission covers a huge area where villages are scattered both on the coast and inland. Tolomako is the name of the local indigenous people and is located by the sea on the opposite side to the main centre of Port Olry on the Island of Santo.  There is no access by road and it is difficult and dangerous to access by sea.

The population of the village is estimated at around 400 people and it is a centre for the people who live in surrounding villages. The people are doing what they can to help the school but are very limited in their capacity to give financial support.

The existing classrooms are built with bush materials and need to be constantly replaced. They are in poor condition and are partitioned to cater for student numbers. There are 130 students of 70 boys and 60 girls with the numbers increasing every year.  There are limited facilities and resources for the teachers. The new classroom block with have two separate rooms with classroom facilities.

The work will be undertaken by hired skilled labour with the very active involvement and support of the local community. For example, a major task is the unloading of the materials from the barge on a rocky and dangerous landing site and then transporting the materials to the actual building site.

The local community values the education of their children and are prepared to actively support the project.  The new school building will enhance the morale of the whole community.

Education is the way out of poverty and exclusion. Education is a passport to a future and offers both the children and their parents the gift of hope.

Your generous support will assist the building of a new and weather proof classroom block for the children in the remote and isolated community at Tolomako Village, Big Bay, Santo, Vanuatu.