The Diocese of Gizo has requested one or two teachers with specific musical and artistic skills to mentor/animate teachers and teach primary aged students arts, dance and music. The Arts and Music program aims to enhance understanding of traditional culture and new cultures. St John Bosco Nusabaruku was established two years ago to increase educational access for 256 currently enrolled primary aged children coming from communities on the outskirts of Gizo villages where families are from Malaita and Kiribati. The school aims to bring understanding and integration between the different traditions and local languages.
Feature image: St John Bosco Nusabaruku
[The new school has six classrooms and a multipurpose room, as well as three houses for school staff]
Nusabaruku is a fishing village, located on a hill [locally known as Millionaire Point, recently renamed Nusa-Bosco – Bosco Island], on the outskirts of Gizo. Gizo is the capital of the Western Province in Solomon Islands. With a population of 7,177 (as of 2019), it is the second largest town in the country. It is situated on Gizo Island approximately 380 kilometres (236 miles) west-northwest of the capital, Honiara, and is just southwest of the larger island of Kolombangara.
About 12.7 percent of the population of the Solomon Islands lives below the poverty line. Roughly 20 to 25 percent of youth in the country never attend primary school with 30 percent of those attending never completing school. Limited access to education and an adult literacy rate of less than 35 percent perpetuate the cycle of poverty from generation to generation. Prior to St John Bosco being established, children from Nusabaruku did not easily attend school. The nearest school on Gizo involves an hour open boat trip.
Eighty-four percent of Solomon Islanders reside in rural areas and rely on subsistence farming for their livelihoods. Access to health care and other social services is very limited. Transport, electricity and telecommunications infrastructure is poor or non-existent. With the majority of youth living in remote areas with limited educational and employment prospects, overcoming poverty is a challenge.
The Palms participants will need to have:
- Qualifications in teaching music [writing and reading simple scores for rhythmic instruments, string – but not electric]
- An ability to engage with local ethnic music [Kiribati and Solomon Is]
- An ability to engage with other musical genres [country, rap and classical]
- Experience in mentoring teachers
- Adaptability and flexibility
- Cultural sensitivity and openness to working within a different cultural context
- Willingness to work in Gizo for a minimum of 12 months, with limited resources and facilities
- Willingness to engage their Australian community in promoting the work of the host organisation and their role
How You Will Help
First you must be willing to learn from the local community.
Over the first six months you are asked not to change anything or suggest a change to operations. During that six months you will take the time to learn language and cultural mores from a local counterpart willing to mentor you. You will also start a register of the strengths of the current personnel and the assets in the community/country that might be used to achieve the goals of the assignment.
So questions to enable your learning from your hosts, not suggestions in ignorance of how things can improve. You need to commit to clarifying why things are done the way they are rather than presuming from you own cultural lens to outline what is missing. Palms training will prepare you for this approach.
In the second six months you will be ready and better know which of your skills and what of your knowledge applies to:
- Training and mentoring of local teachers enabling the music and art program skills to eventually be localised.
- Enhancing opportunities for students to engage with traditional and other cultural music, dance and art to assist students to re-engage with their own cultural identity and develop some understanding of others.
Note: The monthly living allowance enables you to live a modest local lifestyle. Based on the cost of living in a particular country, it covers food, your daily commute, communication and other local costs. It is not set to enable you to meet financial commitments at home, such as a mortgage or a personal loan. It will not cover the costs of eating out and other entertainment. Read more about what is covered in our FAQ.
To find out more, please contact Lalena Graham, Programs & Placement Coordinator on 02 9560 5333 or at [email protected].