Heilala Vanilla Foundation’s first donation arrives in Tonga

The first shipment of equipment from the Heilala Vanilla Foundation has arrived at Vava’u High School, in the Kingdom of Tonga.

The foundation has donated over 100 kitchen items to the school’s Home Economics Department including an oven, toasters, frying pans, blenders and cake mixers along with cutlery and utensils.

Award-winning Heilala Vanilla launched the Heilala Vanilla Foundation last year to build on its already strong ties with the island community of Vava’u.

The partnership between Heilala Vanilla and the people of Vava’u began as an aid project 10 years ago, helping to rebuild after a cyclone. This initial act of kindness by Heilala Vanilla founder, John Ross, led to the founding of Heilala Vanilla.

Jennifer Boggiss, Heilala Vanilla co-founder and director, says due to the remoteness of the Vava’u Islands, access to educational resources and equipment can be limited.

“One of the foundation’s aims is to give students the opportunity to learn more about food preparation and nutrition,” she says. “We have worked closely with principal Sela Tapaatoutai-Teisina for several months to identify and compile a list of equipment needed for Home Economics Department which included cookware and kitchen appliances.”

The current acting principal 'Utulamataki Paongo Tonga and her team were excited and overwhelmed with the supplies that arrived.

“We are very passionate about food and nutrition and look forward to seeing the students flourish,” she says. “Food is a central part of our community and our new resources will enable us to expand the students’ knowledge which they can share with their families. It will bring a new lease of life to the department which up until now has consisted of a broken oven and a limited number of utensils.”

Jennifer says establishing the foundation demonstrates Heilala Vanilla’s commitment to the people of Vava’u and says this shipment is the first of many.

“We are very happy to have completed our first project with Vava’u High School. Home Economics has a great synergy with Heilala Vanilla and we see the incredible importance of working with young people in Tonga.”

The foundation’s next project will be equipment and teaching materials for the school’s science department.

Heilala Vanilla will contribute a percentage of sales of vanilla beans grown and exported from Vava’u, and some funds from other sources, to the foundation, which is registered with the NZ Charities Commission.

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.

Latest news

Related news