In Rustic Pathways’ 29-year history, it has taken students to countless communities in the far corners of the globe, but it is the village of Nasivikoso, in the highlands of Fiji, that occupies a very special place in the heart of Rustic Pathways. For nearly two decades, students and staff have been touched by the warmth and hospitality of their friends and host families in Nasivikoso. Students have returned year after year to see their host families and to maintain their bonds across distance and time.
Rustic Pathways has endeavoured to return the hospitality that the people of Nasivikoso have shown by partnering with the Ministry of Education to build a school in the village. The idea became what is now The Nasivikoso Village Education Project. Previously, children from the village who were seeking an education had to travel down from the highlands to the nearest school and spend the week away from their families. In the last year, Rustic Pathways’ students have got the project underway, and classes from Grades 1 to 3 have commenced. Additionally, students have worked with the Rustic Pathways Foundation to sponsor events in their home communities to support this meaningful educational initiative.
The initial success has been encouraging as the village children have been very motivated to pursue their education now that they do not have to travel such great distances. Rustic Pathways’ South Pacific Regional Director, Evan Wells, recently reported on an extraordinary case of one of Nasivikoso’s new pupils, David.
David had never been known to attend school before and was often seen wandering into the forest alone. He is now regularly going to school in the village and is an active participant in his classes. Moreover, it has been discovered that David is deaf. Now with the building and expansion of the village school, David, and the many other children in the village, have access to the resources necessary to advance their education.
Rustic Pathways’ relationship with Nasivikoso has truly shaped what the company is today and has challenged it to grow in exciting ways without ever losing sight of its humble beginnings.