News Story

Organisations Team Up to Bring Better Learning to School Children of Tonga

Containers of schoolbooks and furniture arrive from New Zealand

Last month, a closing ceremony was hosted in Nuku’alofa by Area Seventy Elder ‘Inoke F. Kupu, from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and by Silongo Samani of Latter-Day Saint Charities. They presented three containers of desks, cabinets, and chairs to the Ministry of Education and Training.

The furniture was provided by Pacific Assist who joined with Latter-day Saint Charities in a unique partnership that brings surplus school furniture and equipment from New Zealand and Australia to the Pacific Islands. Pacific Assist works with schools to learn about surplus furniture and arranges for teams to do the work of sorting and loading.

Latter-Day Saint Charities provides the containers and arranges for shipping and customs processing at the destination and works with the recipient organization.

Receiving the items for the Tongan ministry were Honorable Poasi Mataele Tei, and Dr. Tangikina Moimoi Steen. Mr. Tei is the Minister of Meteorology, Environment, Information, Disaster Management, Energy and Communication (MEIDECC) and Chief Executive Officer of the Tonga Department of Education.

The donated furniture will be going to Tongatapu 6 School District, in which Honorable Tei serves as the current People’s representative in Parliament. There are eight schools in this district.

In a related story, these containers were loaded by missionaries serving in New Zealand from schools in eastern Auckland. One of them, Elder Greg Funake, is from Tonga and as the last container was being sealed, he added a message on a white board in Tongan expressing his love for his country to the person who opened the container.

That person was Minister Tei and when the group that was gathered there saw it, they all smiled and expressed appreciation to this young missionary who helped send these gifts back to his homeland.

Elder 'Inoke Kupu, Area Seventy for the Church, stands next to opened containers of surplus furniture from New Zealand that will be used for schools in Tonga. September 20212021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

“We are pleased to see this project bring benefit to the children of Tonga,” said Elder Kupu. “I also want to express our appreciation to the young missionaries who helped to load these containers. We felt their love for others and through their service."

Latter-day Saint Charities representative Silongo Samani said, “This is a great example of collaboration where we can work with partners to bring benefits to Pacific peoples. We appreciate the ministry here in Tonga for their work in making maximum use of these valuable materials.”

Latter-day Saint Charities is the humanitarian organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and sponsors relief and development projects in 195 countries worldwide.

Pacific Assist is a Charitable Trust based in New Zealand that facilitates the donation of school materials to Pacific Islands schools.

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