Fiji Voluntourism Helps Rebuild Villages After Cyclone Winston
Story By Taylor Simpkins, Fiji Voluntourist
Photos By Brett Monroe Garner, Fiji Voluntourist
“We are lucky to have survived Cyclone Winston” says a Vivilli local while looking down at the construction of his village’s new community hall.
Following the destruction from Cyclone Winston, Fiji Voluntourism partner CAUKIN Studios have teamed up with corporate sponsors to help rebuild villages in Savusavu, Fiji. To aid communities internationally and benefit students with hands on building experience, an international group of ambitious architecture students in their second year established CAUKIN Studios in 2015. There are 5 founding members who make up the origins of CAUKIN’s name: CA-Canada, UK, and IN-Indonesia.They’ve already had huge success in Cambodia and Indonesia and this year have focused their efforts now to Savusavu for Fiji Voluntourism.
31 students in total have joined the Savusavu Expedition and are living in Vivilli building a community centre, and in Naweni building a kindergarten (that will serve a number of villages). The projects are ambitious: the goal, to build a structure from start to finish in 6 weeks. For many of the volunteers, it’s their first time with hands on construction experience, so the leaders are providing guidance through the process. The construction sites are buzzing, and after a few weeks you would never know that this was many students’ first go at construction. The local community members and CAUKIN team have worked together seamlessly to build structures that are fortified to be cyclone resilient, so they will be a safe place in the event of more severe weather and will last the test of time.
“We are lucky to have survived Cyclone Winston”
Jone, Vivili village, Savusavu
When Cyclone Winston made landfall, the Vivilli villagers sought out protection in the church, which gave way, forcing them to retreat to the community hall, which also was decimated, leaving the community no option but to return to their own homes. “We were lucky it came during the day” one local recalls, “otherwise we would not have been safe”. Still, the Vivilli village has not returned to normal. They have been rebuilding the church for the past 9 months, holding church services at the ministers house and the community events and monthly meetings have been held in a makeshift structure built of scraps of wood and metal sheeting. This has now changed, as the CAUKIN team has put the finishing touches on the community hall, which has even been upgraded to include a kitchen that will cater to weddings, birthdays, and community celebrations. Yet, this isn’t the end of this dedicated team’s work. Josh Peasley, a founder of CAUKIN Studios, says they “have another project lined up for the village of Naidi next year, and a pilot housing project for the government to give them a house and design that could be replicated throughout Fiji that will stand up more to hurricanes than the traditional way of building would have.”
“have another project lined up for the village of Naidi next year, and a pilot housing project for the government to give them a house and design that could be replicated throughout Fiji that will stand up more to hurricanes than the traditional way of building would have.”
Josh Peasley, CAUKIN Studios
Although Cyclone Winston was devastating, the Voluntourism here in Savusavu and the kind and selfless spirit of the locals, together, has shown the beauty in people from around the world uniting to create something truly good.