Royal couple take time to learn about hardship and hope in Solomon Islands

© 2012 World Vision

Yesterday World Vision hosted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who learned about World Vision’s work in Burns Creek, a troubled community on the outskirts of Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. “They greeted me like we’d met before. We spoke about what Burns Creek used to be like – it was dangerous and messed up,” said 29-year-old Ellison Mataifiri, who represented the community.

“I told them about our community savings project. They asked lots of questions,” said Ellison. “They wanted to know why we didn’t go to the bank, and I explained that people can’t read or write. The big banks are a long way away, and they won’t lend to us. I was so honored to meet them. Last night I couldn’t go to bed early, I just thought about what I was going to say.”

Ellison explained World Vision’s work in economic development, saving, and employment to William and Kate. The couple were presented with an honorary savings passbook.

“Inside the passbook I stamped ‘Burns Creek Number 1, Duke of Cambridge Number 1,’” said Ellison.

Ellison said the royal visit would leave a lasting impression on the community.

“Our community has never seen a couple like that before, and they got to shake their hands. It’s a big story for Burns Creek today. For the past few years we haven’t felt part of Honiara. Today we feel powerful, and we feel recognized.”

The South Asia and Pacific region is home to a billion people who live on less than $2 a day. Levels of chronic child hunger and malnutrition are among the highest in the world and urban poverty is an increasing problem in many countries in the region.

Read a case study from the Solomon Islands which highlights the experiences of World Vision with the Channels of Hope for Gender model, an intensive process that enables a critical examination of cultural and faith beliefs and which has been successful in changing mindsets on gender norms among faith leaders in Africa since its development. World Vision has adapted this model for use in the Solomon Islands, as a tool to address gender-based violence.

World Vision is one of the largest and most experienced non-government agencies in the Solomon Islands.  The organization has been working there for more than three decades, with a special focus on children and empowering communities to shape their own development in areas like health, education and economic development.

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