A team of 11 Sanitarium employees from Australia and New Zealand converged on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu in November to partner with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA Australia) with a focus on hygiene and access to water. The trip was part of the annual Spirit of Sanitarium Awards International Community Project.
Sanitarium donated $15,000 to cover the cost of two 22,500 litre water tanks. The team was able to assist in the construction of two latrines and a water tank. They also heard from community members who described the challenge of walking 90 minutes for water up to three times each day.
“With all the technology around us in our lives, these people don’t even have fresh water on tap,” said Julie Burley, recipient from Sanitarium’s Distribution Centre in New South Wales.
At two schools, they also donated brand-new sporting equipment and school supplies. “Having a chance to hand over sporting equipment to a community that had next to nothing was such a great feeling,” said Zoe Rathgen, recipient from Sanitarium’s Head Office in Australia.
Team members led hygiene presentations in three different communities, using visual aids to cover topics including handwashing, latrine hygiene and safe food preparation. For some communities, it was their first time seeing a presentation on good hygiene practices.
“The communities we visited were filled with the most welcoming, humble and generous people and it is so inspiring to see people who live so happily and simply,” said Amy Carrick, from Sanitarium’s Brisbane factory. “It’s put a lot into perspective for me.”