About a year ago, I put out a book called SOLO: life in the Solomon Islands. Publishing SOLO gave me a chance to pull together some of my photos from the 900+ islands of the Solomons, and to create what I hoped would be a positive collection of images of the country I’d called home for three years.
More importantly, the book was a good excuse to help raise a bit of money for the San Isidro Care Centre, a small school in Aruligo, on the north-west coast of Guadalcanal, which is home for around a hundred young Solomon Islanders, primarily from the deaf community.
Hearing and speech impairments are higher in the Solomons due to the prevalence of malaria. Being unable to communicate means that many kids find themselves struggling to be part of their communities and families. San Isidro Care Centre provides a home, a school and a place to come together for the country’s large deaf community. It also provides sign language training for families and friends, helping to break down life-long communication barriers. In short: it’s a very inspiring place.
The good news is the response to SOLO was sensational. We’ve now sold more than 1000 copies, and raised nearly AUD$3000 for the kids at San Isidro.
A year after I left the Solomons, I finally had the chance to return this month to catch up with old friends, and return to San Isidro to deliver the profits from SOLO. The money will be used to purchase a new – and much-needed – water pump, meaning the Centre will now have access to water 24-hours a day, and students will no longer have to make the nightly trek to the nearest river, buckets in hand, just to access clean water.
From third year student Lisa Meery: “washing, showering, cooking – this will make a big difference for us, every day. From all of the students here: a big thank you to everyone who supported the book. It means so much to us.”
As Lisa said, an almighty tangio tumas (‘thank you’ in Solomons pidgin) from me and from the students and staff at San Isidro, to all of those who purchased a copy of SOLO and helped let people know about it.
You’ve done a genuinely great thing, supporting a wonderful place and some special young Solomon Islanders.