Early in Shine’s first year, the rainy season struck just weeks after us opening our doors. With the rain comes a lot of problems: the building standing up to the battering and the children getting to school in torrential downpours and often flooded roads.

The project is close by for some, for others they walk 3km in the morning to state school and then return to Shine in the afternoon. This means they can be walking 12km a day to access their education. We will offer all day care and education, when we have the resources, but for now this is the situation. To improve attendance rates (which fall throughout the lengthy monsoon season) and to ensure the students are safe from the elements, we saw it necessary to source transportation. Furthermore, there are 40 students who do not currently attend any school as they live too far into the forest to navigate the way. Transportation would allow us to offer them a way to come to school and Shine.

Having gained much support through members of the community and the GoFundMe campaign, we raised the required amount over 6 months. As we prepared to register the charity in Australia, it became apparent that is extremely inadvisable to transport children without having the legal protection and insurance that comes with being fully registered. Health and safety and child protection has to come first, therefore our plan had to be put on hold. This is one of the many learning curves that occur when starting a charity.

We’re pleased to say the registration is in progress. The funds collected are waiting. We cannot wait (but have to) to purchase the truck and to begin this next phase of Shine’s services. A huge thank you to all who donated and we will keep updating you on the situation.