17th January 2011
In 2011, the Kokoda Track Foundation and a team of volunteers and supporters will embark on an exciting initiative, building a Community Hall in the village of Kokoda. This exciting project will provide a hall and space that will be owned and used by the local Kokoda community. The community will use the hall for a range of purposes including a homework club for students attending one of the four schools in the Kokoda area as well as a space for women’s groups to participate in the Foundation’s Pawa Givim Meri microbusiness projects.
Last year, passionate Kokoda supporter and member of the Foundation – Milton Lay – approached the Foundation with a proposal to build the Community Hall for the village of Kokoda. Milton walked the Track in 2003 and fell in love with the Track, its history, and its people. In particular, Milton developed a strong bond with the village of Kokoda and has kept in touch with the community over the years. Milton joined forces with the Kokoda Track Foundation last year and since then we have spoken with key leaders and elders from the community about how best the project can assist them. The community told the Foundation that they want to build a community hall in the village that will be used and owned by the local villagers. In particular the hall will be used by local women to create and sell their craft and for the training of young people in the village via the Foundation’s education and microbusiness projects.
“The plan has been two years in planning already, and we are talking about a remote area with complicated logistics, so it’s a big call, but all we need now is money” says Milton. “At this stage, everything is ready to go – we just need to get our funds sorted and the exciting stuff can start, and hope that can happen at the end of April this year.”
The “exciting stuff” involves transporting a prefabricated hall structure to Old Kokoda Village and constructing it on-site with the help of local villagers and qualified volunteer labourers – hopefully within a short, 10-day timeframe.
“We are delighted to team up with such a passionate and skilled group of Australians who are committed to contributing back to the local communities after their life-changing Kokoda treks” says Genevieve Nelson, the Foundation’s executive director. “This project will make an enormous difference in the lives of the Kokoda community members and we are excited about this new building project for the Track”.
The Kokoda Community Hall will only be possible with the generous support of donors. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to the project please go to our online donation page. For more information about the project please contact Dr Genevieve Nelson by clicking here.