I was on a hiatus, traveling internationally, but I’m back and wanted to give attention to and an update about Tonga where I served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1973-74.

As a member of Friends of Tonga (FOT), this past year has been the most challenging for FOT since their inception. January 14th marked the one year anniversary of the Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha’apai eruption. Thanks to those who gave financial support, FOT Inc. was not only able to meet its mission of designing and implementing education programs across the Kingdom of Tonga, but we were also instrumental in providing disaster relief services in response to the volcano and its aftermath.

In fact, FOT along with a slew of international partners, we have invested over $500,000 USD that has impacted over 30% of the entire Tongan population, across every island group. Since we are a volunteer organization, all of this was accomplished without anyone on our board receiving a salary and with minimal overhead.

In 2022 we have provided the funding for the following initiatives:

● 36+ ten thousand liter rainwater cisterns for outer island communities that provides clean drinking water to 10,000+ individuals
● 3 aquaculture farms in the Ha’apai island group
● Vegetable propagation and distribution to 439 families across 26 villages
● Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services to over 5,000 individuals
● Emergency Scholarships and student support to every student displaced by the tsunami.
● Counseling certifications for community leaders
● Funded disaster relief scholarships for every student displaced by the tsunami
● Partnered with private businesses and international nonprofits to provide 1,500 emergency kits and 5,000 sandals and distributed them across the Kingdom
● Funded the renovation of a warehouse that is used as the staging point for supply distributions
● Financially supported 24 students for their annual high school tuition and school fees,
● Continued to enhance and add to our video-resource library
● And so much more!

I want to personally thank Michael Hassett, our president of FOT, Inc, who helped to lead these efforts. I hope you are as proud as we are; it really is amazing what we are accomplishing/doing! Thank to you who have supported these Tongan efforts. To continue helping our programs for 2023, you can do so here!

Feel free to leave a comment below.

Ofa Atu, Susana

2 thoughts on “Tonga, Post Volcanic Explosion

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