YouMe Support Foundation - Educating Kids Left Behind by the 21st Century

YouMe Support Foundation - Educating Kids Left Behind by the 21st Century

Vanuatu
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

YouMe Support Foundation provides higher education grants for children in isolated areas, who are living in a cashless society.
Without outside assistance, these children will never have the opportunity to go to high school.
They will never have the opportunity to leave their isolated island home and learn things that can enhance their simple custom village way of life. They will never have the opportunity to actively partake in the 21st century. They will never have the chance to fulfill their dreams.
YouMe Support Foundation in partnership with winaresort.com gives a unique, world first opportunity to raise funds, through giving away an exotic South Pacific island resort. Some lucky person will become the new owner of Seachange Lodge. Children from the far north of Vanuatu, will be granted non-repayable high school education grants.
Volunteer/adventure tourists are encouraged to visit these beautiful isolated island people. Take in school and medical supplies and share whatever knowledge they have, which can enhance the villager’s way of life. Just sitting and talking with the children is a deeply moving experience.
Visitors receive a royal welcome. Villagers have the opportunity to learn. An unforgettable experience for everyone. The hardest part is saying goodbye.

Your idea
This will be the address used to plot your entry on the map.
Street Address

Captain Cook Ave

City

Port Vila

State/Province

Shefa

Postal/Zip Code

0000

Country
Year innovation began

2007

Geotourism Challenge Addressed by Entrant

Quality of benefit to the people of the desitination

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Indicate sector in which you principally work

Tourism-related business

Geographic location

Rural, Coast, Rainforest.

Plot your innovation within the Mosaic of Solutions
Main barrier addressed

Lack of collaboration

Main insight addressed

Develop community assets

Innovation
What is the goal of your innovation?

Providing high school education grants for children from a Cashless Society. An innovative fund raiser for children who have no chance to go to high school.

How does your approach support or embody geotourism?

Vanuatu, a little known, secret gem tucked away in a remote corner of one of the Lesser Economically Developed Countries of Oceana. It is geographically vital as it is one of the most stable nations of the South Pacific islands.
In the far northern corner of the archipelago, lies Banks, where life slips back to an almost timeless zone and people live as they have for centuries.
Untouched wildernesses, pristine tropical water, happy smiling people. A place that will impact on any who visit its peaceful shores to discover the delights of the Happiest Country on Earth, (as voted in 2006).
Yet, this forgotten corner is a Cashless Society. Education is not free and villagers have no money to send their children to high school.
YouMe Support Foundation’s goal is to provide non-repayable high school education grants to high achieving students. Not only will it enhance the lives of the students, but will in turn impact on the village way of life.
Volunteer/Adventure tourists are encouraged to assist in this project. Visitors who come with school supplies; knowledge of first aid and medical supplies; carpenters prepared to share what they know; engineers, or capable handymen who could help improve the water supply, or buildings; teachers who can teach adults to read and write, or share a story from a picture book.
Visitors prepared to simply sit and talk with the children and enjoy the age old village way of life. Visitors whose lives will be changed by the simple beauty of the villagers, while the villagers glean understanding to enhance their custom way of life.
Take in a small hand held mirror, or a pair of mass-made reading glasses and see the tears stream down grateful faces. It is is a truly unforgettable experience.
Yet, if you can't visit them, you can still help these villagers, by donating to YouMe Support Foundation, through winaresort.com.

Describe your approach in detail. How is it innovative?

YouMe Support Foundation, in partnership with winaresort.com has introduced a unique, world first innovation in fund raising, by offering a small, 6 roomed, boutique island resort (private holiday home,with 6 holiday units), Seachange Lodge, as 1st prize on the Internet.
All funds are guaranteed to go into a Trust Fund, administered by a Board of Directors, under the supervision of an internationally recognized accounting firm. Interest from the funds provide non-repayable high school education grants to high achieving students.
The only proven way to assist the lesser developed nations, is to educate the next generation.
The Trust Fund will help many generations of children to come, as no private individual (apart from the students), or private organization can benefit from the fund.
The innovation was launched on January 15th 2008. Articles, press releases, blogs on the social networks, email campaigns, word of mouth, plus professional web sites, make the public aware of the project.
No one has ever attempted to combine the elements of a raffle, charity and geotourism in the same project. Yet all three solve the particular problems of this isolated area.
How many people dream of retiring on a South Pacific island, away from all the hub bub of life, with a tax-free income? Everyone has the right to fulfill their dreams. Seachange Lodge may do just that for some lucky person, while fulfilling the dreams of the children.
This a chance to own your own private holiday home, plus holiday units for your family and friends, or a tax-free income, while assisting those who are unable to help themselves. Helping geographically isolated children move into the 21st century ensures the future of the villages.

What types of partnerships or professional development would be most beneficial in spreading your innovation?

Links with other charities and organizations that have similar goals is our greatest need . Credibility on the Internet is not easy to establish. Only as others see the benefit of this project and are prepared to back it, will the dream of YouMe Support Foundation become fulfilled.
Volunteer/tourists helping to develop the villagers way of life and placing their testimonials on the website, will add tremendously to the project.
Professional teams assessing the children, schools and teachers and family situation is under way.
Follow up of the students and their input into the village life will be fully documented and shared on the web. Progress of the project will be able to be monitored by the public.

Impact
In one sentence describe what kind of impact, change, or reform your approach is intended to achieve.

Children lost between custom living and the 21st century will be given the freedom of choice. One of the most basic needs of mankind. In turn these students will enhance the life of their village.

Describe the degree of success of your approach to date. Clearly define how you measure quantitative and qualitative impact in terms of how your approach contributes to the sustainability or enhancement of local culture, environment, heritage, or aesthetics? How does your approach minimize negative impacts? 200 words or less

Seachange Lodge has dedicated 10% of all profit to the villagers in the far north of Vanuatu, since their opening in 2003.
Results have been spectacular, in sending much needed school supplies and simple tools, which have increased the self sufficiency of the villagers. Any assistance was always designed to assist the people move forward in their own community.
Weekly telephone conversations, when the phones work, plus visits, keep us in touch with what is happening in the villages.
Emotional letters have been received from grateful teachers and students, who benefited from the supplies.
Many high achieving students of these islands will never go to high school, through lack of funds, as education in Vanuatu is not free.
YouMe Support Foundation launched the unique and world first initiative, on the 15th January 2008, to offer the small boutique resort, Seachange Lodge,Vanuatu, as a prize on the Internet, combining a very unique raffle and charity in one, with geotourism.
This project can be replicated and scaled up to assist any similar situation in the world. Other organizations or groups can link with YouMe Support Foundation. We will share the unique barriers we faced and how we overcame them.
It is planned that other exotic resorts will be raffled and the funds placed in Trust. Many more students, in similar circumstances in other places could be given an education. Education that will enhance the villagers way of life and break the cashless cycle.
Volunteer/adventure tourists are encouraged to participate in the program and visit these out-lying and isolated areas. A unique experience off the beaten track.
The 21st century can be used to assist these villagers, while enhancing their custom way of life. It is helping the Happiest Country on Earth, to mend an area of extreme sadness - no education for their children. What would you do if your child was denied the right to an education?

How does your program promote traveler enthusiasm, satisfaction, and engagement with the locale?

We encourage volunteer/adventure tourists to travel to the far northern islands, of Vanuatu, to partake in a very unique and unforgettable experience, completely off the tourist track. Tourists who are prepared to interact with the locals and partake in the simple village way of life.
By taking desperately needed school and medical supplies the visitor has the satisfaction of seeing the results first hand.
Knowledge of simple things can assist the villagers to enhance their way of life. Just sharing with the children is a very enriching experience, as they babble excitedly in their Bislama lanuauge.
Saying goodbye is the hardest part of this life changing experience.

In what ways are local residents actively involved in your innovation, including participation and community input? How has the community responded to or benefited from your approach?

The community has been overwhelmingly grateful for any assistance we have been able to offer them. School teachers have wept as supplies were given to them. Trying to teach without resources is almost impossible. A tin of blackboard paint and a box of chalk is pure gold to these teachers. Pencils no longer need to be broken in three and more children have paper to write on as they struggle to meet the criteria laid down by the education department. The upper primary classes must write with pens. How can they, when they have none?
The villager’s cannot believe that any one would actually care enough to do something about their children's education. They receive little or no assistance from the government.
They are overwhelmed to think that the next generation will be given an opportunity they did not have themselves.

Describe how your innovation helps travelers and local residents better understand the value of the area’s cultural and natural heritage, and educates them on local environmental issues. How do you motivate them to act responsibly in their future travel decisions?

Vanuatu historically has an oral culture, so to interact with them at the village level, is to gain a better understanding of their way of life and touch a people unmolested by modern society. The experience refreshingly contrasts with western living. It is like stepping back in time, to a custom way of life which has existed for centuries.
The traveler gains a different perspective though the villager’s simplicity. In casual conversation, the traveler can educate the villagers, on environmental subjects, e.g. use of plastic bags and disposing safely of 21st century waste, which have crept into their society.
Travelers who come through YouMe Support Foundation will be encouraged to understand the culture before they arrive at the Banks islands. Visitors are encouraged to go to the local cultural centre in Port Vila, before visiting the outer islands, for an insight into these peoples way of life.

Sustainability
Is your initiative financially and organizationally sustainable? If not, what is required to make it so? What is the potential demand for your innovation?

The initiative is totally sustainable long term, as only the interest on the Funds is used to provide educational grants. This way, many generations of children will be able to be educated.
The demand is infinite, as each year, more students require to be educated.
There are also other countries that have a similar problem. It was reported in a newspaper of a Fijian boy selling coconuts, in an effort to raise funds to go to high school. There are a lot more children out there who are unable to go to high school, than most of us are aware of.

How is your initiative currently financed? If available, provide information on your finances and organization that could help others. Please list: Annual budget, annual revenue generated, size of part-time, full-time and volunteer staff.

Our initiative is financed in offering an exotic, small resort as 1st prize on the Internet. Once one resort has been won, another will be offered in an ongoing operation.
A full business plan was presented to the bank and is available for qualified viewers. Full assistance will be given to others who wish to initiate a similar program.
Staffing will be as large as the program requires and is to eventually have its own headquarters in Port Vila.
The estimated income from the project is expected to be in the multi-millions. At this stage the goal is to have $US2million dollars in the Trust Fund by the end of the first project, with sufficient funds to commence a second project.

What is your plan to expand your approach? Please indicate where/how you would like to grow or enhance your innovation, or have others do so.

We wish to see not just the first project succeed, but others to follow immediately behind, if not dovetail from one to another.
We see this project being available in many different countries.
YouMe Support Foundation is prepared to assist others to do the same as we have. There are lots of exotic resorts out there that would fit a specific criteria and there are many more children that need help.
Teams can be easily extended, in different countries, to do the student assessment program, through the model we have evolved.

What are the main barriers you encounter in managing, implementing, or replicating your innovation? What barriers keep your program from having greater impact?

Public acceptability has been the biggest barrier. Because of the unique world first initiative and new presence on the Internet, customer prejudice is being broken down. This is being achieved step by careful step. As with any successful dream, it takes a lot of hard work, dedication and discipline.
It is believed that once creditable charities and like minded organizations become linked with the project, these barriers will quickly disappear. Associate advisers are being sought from the professional world, such as doctors, lawyers etc. They will be able to have an input into the decisions of YouMe Support Foundation, through email communication.
Replicating ourselves will be easily achieved, as every step we have taken is well documented and our staff are well able to assist and train others. Also the solidly organized and well tested proto-tpye we have created, is able to cope with much more traffic than we can generate.

The Story
What is the origin of your innovation? Tell your story.

My husband and I came to Vanuatu to retire. Instead we created and still operate a small boutique accommodation, Seachange Lodge, in Port Vila, Vanuatu. We enjoy meeting with people from all walks of life and different parts of the world.
We have always given very special consideration to anyone who comes into the country to assist the people of Vanuatu.
In 2004 we were introduced to a group of people from the far northern islands, the Banks area. It was love at first sight.
Since then, 10% of all profit from Seachange Lodge (who’ s counting) has been sent north to this far flung community. Simple tools, to school supplies and hand turned sewing machines and material. We helped them the first 'Christmas' they had ever experienced, in that every family received something. It didn’t matter if it was only a plastic washing bowl or bucket. It was a small gift for each home.
Our greatest delight was when the women sent back asking for more material, with a small amount of cash. (Some tourists pass through this isolated area).
On a visit to these delightful islanders, we discovered that top achieving students in primary school, would never have the opportunity for a high school education.
We racked our brains as to how we could help these people. Selling our property would supply our own superannuation, but nothing left to keep helping these beautiful islanders.
YouMe Support Foundation was birthed, with winaresort.com. By giving Seachange Lodge away on the Internet, we would raise enough finance to place $2million in a Trust Fund.
We would be paid market value for Seachange Lodge and there would be enough left in the fund to start another project for the island communities.
So began a long and interesting journey. Yes, we experienced, frustration, desperation, exhaustion, right through to elation and victory. All in a mix I might add. No one had ever tried this unique blend: raffle, charity, tourism all rolled into one. Dear friends kept pointing out that we had to concentrate on one or the other. Quietly we continued on our own pathway. Better to have tried and proved wrong, than to never have tried at all.
Because we live in Vanuatu, a tax-free haven, we met hurdles you wouldn’t otherwise experience, put up by the financial community to prevent money laundering. Perfectly understandable. However, we had a legitimate project that was worthy of pursuing.
One by one, (occasionally several at once) we faced each hurdle and overcame them. January 15th winaresort.com was finally launched.
Surely our hurdles were behind us now?
Wrong! We faced a different set: public skepticism. Was this for real? Who in their right mind would give away a South Pacific island resort, with a tax free income, plus cash prizes?
Press releases, articles, email campaigns and coming to terms with web marketing proved to be our strong points, and meeting the right people at just the right time.
We had worked with the community for over three years. We had positive results. We wanted even greater results. We wanted to provide these children with the opportunity to be an active part of 21st century. We wanted education to break the cashless cycle. We wanted to enhance the simple way of life the islanders enjoyed. We wanted to give the next generation a choice.
It is a massive enterprise, growing bigger by the day. Determination, Dedication and Discipline are the three D's that make the dream a reality.
What have we learned from all this? Dare to dream and dare to dream big. Follow through your dream. Your dream can make a difference to other people's lives.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers' marketing material.

Doctor of Divinity
15 years as administrator/owner of a Child Care Kindergarten in Australia;
17 years as a co-pastor of a church;
3 years teaching English as a second language in Hong Kong;
4 years and ongoing as owner operator of Seachange Lodge, boutique accommodation in Vanuatu;
2 years on Executive Committee of Vanuatu Hotels and Resorts Association;
CEO of YouMe Support Foundation since 2007
My husband - 25 years as Flight Service Director in Qantas,
6 years instructor in St. John Ambulance
Founding Director of Oxley Private College, Bowral, New South Wales, Australia.

Please write an overview of your project. This text will appear when people scroll over the icon for your entry on the Google map located on the competition homepage.

YouMe Support Foundation provides higher education grants for children in isolated areas, who are living in a cashless society.
Without outside assistance, these children will never have the opportunity to go to high school.
They will never have the opportunity to leave their isolated island home and learn things that can enhance their simple custom village way of life. They will never have the opportunity to actively partake in the 21st century. They will never have the chance to fulfill their dreams.
YouMe Support Foundation in partnership with winaresort.com gives a unique, world first opportunity to raise funds, through giving away an exotic South Pacific island resort. Some lucky person will become the new owner of Seachange Lodge. Children from the far north of Vanuatu, will be granted non-repayable high school education grants.
Volunteer/adventure tourists are encouraged to visit these beautiful isolated island people. Take in school and medical supplies and share whatever knowledge they have, which can enhance the villager’s way of life. Just sitting and talking with the children is a deeply moving experience.
Visitors receive a royal welcome. Villagers have the opportunity to learn. An unforgettable experience for everyone. The hardest part is saying goodbye.