In August 2013, Frankston North Rotary was contacted to help around 300 households in three villages in Tonga to become self-sufficient by growing local vegetables and raising poultry. These villages were very poor and their vegetable gardens were rundown and in need of proper fencing to keep the roaming pigs from destroying what little they attempted to grow. Some of the land also needed to be reclaimed and built up for successful production.
With the assistance of 16 Rotary Clubs, Frankston North Rotary raised $19,000 and, with the support of Rotary District 9820, were able to obtain a Global Grant of $50,000 from The Rotary Foundation. The New Zealand government had pledged to meet any money raised four to one. This gave a total of around $260,000 for the project.
The project commenced in April 2014, and the first 120 households now have new vegetable gardens and hen houses, which means that they have enough fresh vegetables, eggs and meat for their families. Any excess produce is sold in the local market. Thus these households have their own fresh food at a significantly reduced cost, providing them with a better diet, and also have a small income.
When this project is completed in the coming months, 300 households will have the benefit of new vegetable gardens and hen houses.