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Houses for hope on Vanuatu

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William Arnett, a junior in music from Arizona, is working with a group of returned missionaries and Vanuatu natives to bring education and the gospel to Vanuatu. In Vanuatu, education is in short supply. “Families can send one, maybe two of their children to school,” said Arnett, who served a mission in Vanuatu. “The islands and atolls are mostly subsistence farming and people are only able to reach a high school education, if that.”“Everyone in the country is just so vivacious that want to have education. They’re a very new country — only 30 years old. They got independence in 1980. They know to become a powerful country and to be the country they want to be is through education,” Arnett added. He and other returned missionaries have seen the need for education and have a plan to help provide it.On Crowdrise, you can watch a video called Houses for Hope, which explains their project. Through donations they will fund the building of a house for missionaries to live. The LDS Church will rent the house and give that money to the community, which will help fund for school. According to Arnett, a large portion of that money will be spent in paying teachers, buying school supplies and building a schoolhouse. By putting money into building these houses, the members of Houses for Hope are putting money into the education system of Vanuatu, as well as boosting its economy. Other portions of the rent money will go toward building more homes in outer regions of Vanuatu for missionaries to proselyte and serve the people. All it takes is one house to get it started.Maklen Kapulu, a project organizer for Houses of Hope and a senior in political science from Vanuatu, will be going back to her home to begin preparations on the ground this summer. “I know that this program will really help the children and especially the communities in Vanuatu,” said Kapulu. “We’re trying to help the country out, to get them what they really need,” said Arnett, echoing his Crowdrise video. “They don’t have the money to build the houses to rent them to missionaries to get money cycling through.” Arnett said housing would help missionaries to get out in the field, helping and serving the people. He added, “If we get the benefits of the gospel to them, it will also help them get educated and developed. This is one way it can go directly into their communities. It’s a win-win on both sides.” “As the children go to school they will be able to get a high school education, which is really the end of the line for them in their country, but then they can come to BYU-Hawaii and be able to have the miracle that is this church school to help them out,” said Arnett.He continued, “I feel like it’s a way ­— and I don’t want to sound cheesy — a way we can establish peace internationally. I think the school was made to do something like this and this is something we should do,” said Arnett.Houses for Hope is dedicated to their cause and backed by a generous donor who will match whatever money is raised from Crowdrise (up to $8000). While they are hoping to find success in the Empower Your Dreams competition, “we are going to do this anyway. The contest is just a way to do it quicker within the next two years,” said Arnett. “It’s going to happen, it’s just going to happen so much faster and so much better with your help,” said Arnett.Uploaded Feb. 26, 2015
Writer: Alyssa Walhood