The Australian High Commission is pleased to announce its support for the Hope Academy through the Direct Aid Program (DAP).

The Hope Academy is an educational ministry of Kombavatu Pentecostal Church to serve children from disadvantaged backgrounds who would not otherwise be able to attend school.

The school that is staffed by volunteer teachers has 170 students, running kindergarten to standard 5 classes, a form three class and a literacy class for mothers.

The project was opened by Australian High Commission Third Secretary, Ms Amanda Davis.

Ms Davis said Australia was pleased to be able to assist community groups and organisations from all over Solomon Islands to enhance skills, improve living standards and build community confidence through the Direct Aid Program.

"Every one of these projects, in its own small way, helps Solomon Islands as a whole to become a more peaceful, self-confident and prosperous nation", she said.

Ms Davis was impressed by the initiative of the community in establishing the school and saw first-hand the dedication of the volunteer teachers working with limited resources, seeking to empower young people and equip them to meet the challenges of the future.

The Hope Academy was the brainchild of Pastor Hennessy Maetala and his wife Ruth Maetala, who hoped to address the plight of children from low income families, broken homes, orphans, girls dropping out due to teenage pregnancy and women who had never had the chance to learn to read.

Pastor Maetala told Ms Davis how he picked up street children collecting tin cans on the streets of Honiara, and introduced them to the school in the hope they might have a better future.

The Direct Aid Program (DAP) is a small grants program designed to help community groups improve their living standards. DAP will provide SBD 500 000 for 30 community projects across Solomon Islands this year. The High Commission welcomes DAP applications from communities that need a helping hand to achieve their goals.

Copyright © 2009 The Australian High Commission Honiara (Press Release). All Rights Reserved