The ground has been broken on P&O Pacific Partnership's biggest project to date, with construction set to begin on a new health facility on the remote Vanuatu island of Aneityum.
Medical Superintendant Vila Central Hospital Hensley Garae and Country Director Save The Children Vanuatu Tom Skirrow were among those who attended a symbolic turning of the sod ceremony to mark the start of the project. A sandalwood tree was planted to bring prosperity to the site and a woven mat and a walking stick were presented to the cruise line to offer support and strength during the construction of the vital health facility.
Known as the “last island in Vanuatu”, Aneityum is the home community to nearby Mystery Island, one of P&O Cruises’ most popular South Pacific destinations.
Working with Save the Children, the P&O Pacific Partnership is giving the cruise line and its passengers an opportunity to support island communities, such as the people of Aneityum, who have been welcoming P&O ships and their guests for more than 80 years.
Around $400,000 has already been raised through the Pacific Partnership and three projects - two kindergartens and an aid post - have already been completed.
The latest project will see $270,000 from the Partnership devoted to replacing a pre-1970s health facility on Aneityum. The new dispensary will include a consultancy room, treatment room, in-patient room, delivery room for maternity services, a waiting area as well as pharmaceutical and equipment storage.
Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said the new project was an exciting example of the P&O Pacific Partnership at work.
“We have made a commitment to give back to the communities who make our guests so welcome and our partnership with Save the Children is an excellent way to achieve this,” Ms Sherry said.
“The Pacific Islands are among the most beautiful in the world offering truly unique experiences but there is also a significant community need when it comes to health and education facilities. Our guests welcome the opportunity to join with P&O Cruises and Save the Children in addressing these needs, beginning initially in Vanuatu.”
P&O Cruises’ guests are able to support the P&O Pacific Partnership by contributing a dollar from their onboard accounts or participating in the 'Born to Knit' program, which is now exclusive to the cruise line and sees knitted blankets donated to newborns at Vila Hospital.
“The knitting program has been such a great success that quite often our passengers know about it even before they arrive on board and are eager to participate,” Ms Sherry added.
The P&O Pacific Partnership is part of Carnival Australia’s ongoing charity program, Carnival Cares, which also supports Lifeline Australia.