Partnering with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), a team of 21 from Sanitarium Health Food Company in Australia spent several days in Fiji providing improved sanitation and health care for local communities from September 10 to 15.
During their stay, the team completed the construction of 10 toilets for 15 families and an additional bathroom specially designed for a family headed by a person with a disability.
The team also partnered with the 10,000 Toes Campaign to conduct health screenings. The 10,000 Toes Campaign seeks to fight the scourge of diabetes in the South Pacific islands, helping people to “keep their toes and limbs.”
Pamela Townend, 10,000 Toes coordinator for the South Pacific, said, “The 10,000 Toes Campaign was pleased to provide healthy juices and health screenings to the village as this is part of the work it does in Fiji in its effects to turn the tide on diabetes. By working together, we can achieve more.”
ADRA Australia senior fundraising manager Aleksandra Ewing, who was part of the visiting group, emphasized the impact of the hands-on experience. “The highlight of the trip was the opportunity to work alongside the local community, learn about their lives and their culture and see first-hand the impact that the ADRA project has made in their lives,” Ewing said.
She added that the experience was enriched by a visit to a local farm. “It was truly moving to see the pride in a local farmer’s eyes about what he had been able to achieve thanks to the knowledge gained from ADRA.”
Team participants for this initiative were selected through the Spirit of Sanitarium Awards (SOSA) — an internal awards program that provides opportunities to recognise outstanding employees who reflect the philosophy and values of the Sanitarium Group.
Since the program’s inception in 2003, SOSA has received close to 7,800 nominations, recognized 235 recipients, and distributed more than $AU1.16 million (about US$750,000) donated to charity on behalf of recipients and through Sanitarium’s community project program.
With a long-standing partnership with ADRA, Sanitarium donates products to several ADRA food pantries across Australia, collaborates in delivering community projects in the South Pacific and Asia, and teams up with ADRA in responding to emergencies and disasters in Australia and New Zealand and around the South Pacific.
“Like ADRA, one of our key values is to ‘serve others,’ ” Bruna Tawake, manager of Community Partnerships and Communications at Sanitarium, said. “We value ADRA’s community development approach that’s built on careful assessment of community needs, collaboration with communities and giving communities a hand-up, not just a hand-out. Partnering with ADRA for this project and this service trip is another example of an ongoing, valued partnership between Sanitarium and ADRA.”