i, kylie, had the blessed opportunity to travel to the tiny island nation of tuvalu. most of you have probably never heard of tuvalu. tuvalu is the world's 4th smallest country made up of 4 islands and 5 atolls. because of the rising sea level and climate change, tuvalu is said to disappear in the next 50 years. at an elevation of only 15 feet above sea level, the people are obligated to consider migration elsewhere. that is where we come in.
as a SIFE group, we traveled to the island of tuvalu to teach workshops. SIFE is a non-profit organization found at universities and campuses throughout the world that specializes in bringing business and entrepreneurial skills to nations and communities in need. along with 7 other byu-hawaii students, i had the opportunity to work on a project specializing in helping the people of tuvalu. after one year of working diligently on this project, the time had finally come to visit the island.
one of tuvalu's problems is a major shortage of necessary school supplies. their education is weak, and the island is in desperate need of supplies and technology equipment to improve the current condition and system. in order to help fulfill this need, SIFE has donated an entire crate (it weighed nearly 2 tons!) of books to the primary nauti school children (pictured above in blue).
if you want to read about what brought us here and how we went about doing things, go here. each student hosted a workshop - topics varied from entrepreneurship, poise, business etiquette, and goal planning to time management, writing resumes, improving interview skills, and dressing for success.
the students were eager to learn and excited about us being there. we provided notebooks and pens for each student to take careful notes to remember what they had learned. after each workshop, we challenged them to share what they learned with a friend or family member. it was touching to see as the young adults scribbled down as much as they could, and with smiles on their faces eagerly participated in our conversations.
as a SIFE organization, we were also able to donate 8 laptops to the school of education. meeting with the ministry of education and other faculty and staff was vital, as we trained teachers how to use an important oral english teaching software for children called imagine learning.
imagine learning is very interactive and fun for kids. it was hilarious to watch the adults playing and laughing their heads off at the funny stories and sounds the program makes. many people in tuvalu are unfamiliar with how to operate a computer - receiving laptops was very special to them.
i loved watching the kids smile and laugh and interact. these students are forum 7, equivalent to the U.S. freshmen college student age group. ranging between 18-19 years old, many are preparing for a future at university. the skills they learned in our workshops will help them to know how to transition to the university life and to obtain a job whether they go to fiji, australia, or new zealand.
while in tuvalu, our mission was threefold: educate, empower, enterprise. we also worked with the women on the island to help produce and market their handicraft products to sell in a shop called tuvalu homes in california.
tuvalu was an incredible experience. the people are kind and loving. read more about my experience here, if you are interested. be aware of the many opportunities you have to serve in this world. if you are still going to school at a university, get involved in the programs they offer. look into joining organizations like SIFE that are always looking for ways to empower individuals and create entrepreneurial and leadership skills in our communities.

in the future, we plan to follow up with the people, students, and communities we worked with by establishing a network of communication via email, chat, and Skype. we have received over 200 letters already and are in the process of responding. this project is an ongoing long-term project - and year after year we will continue to return to tuvalu and help there.
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  1. Looks beautiful and inspiring! Do you have a way to follow up with them? See what's going on in 1 year? 5 years? 25 years? That would be neat to see.

  2. I liked this post a lot Kylie! It was interesting and inspiring, and a good summary of Tuvalu. It also was helpful to hear about 'imagine learning'. There was an orphanage in Thailand that we visited that could use this.
    Thanks for being such a wonderful example and sharing your experiences!

  3. i am excited to be in sife!!!


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