Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) March 22, 2009 -- Taking a derelict property, with panoramic views of Erakor Lagoon, an elderly, hard working Australian couple renovated and built it into a small successful boutique holiday resort, over a period of three years. Now they face the battle of trying to give the million dollar property away.
The couple came up with the out-of-the-mainstream concept of placing the property on the Internet as a raffle. Their sole aim was to give all the money away to provide education grants for local kids, who will never get the opportunity to go to high school. Most of the kidsâ parents cannot read or write and live on as little as $1 a day. There is no free education in this Lesser Developed Country, voted the Happiest Country on Earth. The government statistics show that only 18 % of the kids get to go to high school level. While 55 % manage do manage to scrape through to level 6, 26 % of the children never receive any education at all.
The project to give high school grants sounded easy and so doable. Wrong! First there came the global financial melt-down. The merchant bank, necessary to process credit cards online, closed shop. Other banks wouldn't get involved with this kind of Internet project in the current financial climate, particularly as it was located on a tax haven, tropical island, in the South Pacific.
The ministers from the local government all agreed it was a fantastic idea, but bureaucracy had its own say and added to the coupleâs difficulties, as they battled to register a charity. The elderly couple was adamant that all the money be held firmly in trust, controlled and oversighted by a board of well known local business people and well respected citizens. This would sustain the project allowing many kids to benefit from it, now and in the years ahead.
Pig-headedly determined not to quit on this worthwhile project, the couple paid to have two websites built, from their quickly dwindling cash supply. Only to discover the web sites were little more than templated blog sites, with very limited capabilities. Undaunted in their resolve, the wife decided to enter the highly competitive world of Cyber Space. With only two hours tuition, she set about to master the mysteries of the professional web designer's program, Dreamweaver. Many frustrating hours later and a lot more grey hairs, the web sites were finally live.
Freelance journalists who interviewed the couple, were turned down by popular magazines and TV stations, who simply said, "They arenât Nicole Kidman". The elderly couple tried getting some visiting celebrities to the tropical island, interested in helping the project, but always with the same result. "Yes, they would love to help", when talking to the couple face to face. Yet as the weeks dragged by, nothing.
Still firmly believing wholeheartedly in their project, in spite of some close friends telling them it was time to quit, the couple enrolled the first student into high school in January, 2009.
Now the couple must sit and wait to see if their eighteen months of hard blood, sweat and tears will pay off. Will the users of cyber space get behind them and their project? Will lucky person get to be the new owner of this fabulous million dollar, prestige property for just a few dollars? Or will the couple have to finally abandon the project, because of lack of support and general skepticism in believing something this good is actually for real? Will students be left stranded without any prospects of getting a high school education, in spite of being high achievers in primary?
### About the author: Dr Wendy Stenberg-Tendys and Rick are CEOâs of YouMe Support Foundation. It could be worth your while to check her out at Win a Resort, ([http://winaresort.com])