The week long paddling festival continues to bring an ever increasing number of paddlers from around the world to compete in a range of disciplines while urging those involved to take part in the cultural aspects of Oe Vaka and the Cook Islands.
In 2011, Vaka Eiva introduced its Adopt a School initiative as a pathway to emphasising the event as an excellent teaching and learning opportunity for our Cook Islands school children.
The initiative has gained momentum every year since and several teams have developed long term relationships with schools.
The year 2013 saw a huge outpouring of goodwill when news of fires at Avatea School and Nukutere College reached the international paddling community.
The programme changed its focus to ensure that it could do all that was needed to assist the schools affected.
The Ministry of Education faced the enviable problem of finding space to store the huge amount of donated goods received.
For 2016, the Adopt a School programme will return to its usual approach of one team per school.
Vaka Eiva brings much excitement to the Cook Islands and is a wonderful opportunity for all of our school students and school communities to meet the paddling athletes and teams from all over the world, and in turn, share with the athletes our unique culture of the Cook Islands through the Adopt a School initiative.
Adopt a School provides an opportunity for the paddling athletes and teams to forge links with a local school in the Cook Islands as a form of cultural exchange and to give, in kind, much needed educational resources to the school children – by adopting a school.
For our Cook Island schools, the initiative provides valuable educational opportunities to get behind and support the Vaka Eiva 2016 Festival through a number of learning experiences and cultural exchanges between schools and teams.
Furthermore, the Adopt a School initiative gives students a better understanding of the world around them in relation to their own position in the world.
Adopted Schools and students will show support for paddling athletes and teams by;
hosting paddling athletes and teams during a school visit
learning more about their adopted paddling family through quality teaching and learning experiences, i.e. geographic studies of participating teams etc.
Offering encouragement and support through a number of strategies and learning opportunities, i.e. letters of support, placards, posters etc.
Once partnership with schools have been arranged, teams and athletes are encouraged to make contact with schools to identify any particular resource needs that would be of most benefit to their adopted school.
The Ministry of Education also has a focus on very early learning and tries to support community groups to empower young parents to be involved in their child’s learning from the very beginning.
If any teams have access to learning toys or other resources for 0-3 year olds, the Ministry of Education facilitator would happily find them a new home.
- Vaka Eiva