One year after Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu, the island of Tanna has made remarkable strides towards recovery, with youth at the heart of the process. What can we learn from this story? What enabled this community to be so self-determining in a time of such extreme difficulty? Phillip Hinton will discuss such questions and present a film documenting Tanna community’s response to this catastrophe, on Saturday 2nd April, 7:30 pm at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning, Corner of Princes Highway and Bellambi Lane, Russell Vale. All Welcome.
Over the past decade, Bahá’ís and their fellow islanders have been working to strengthen the fabric of community life there. In villages throughout the island, collective worship has become part of the regular pattern of life. Bahá’ís have witnessed a rise in social harmony and cooperation between different groups. Barriers that previously divided people have gradually fallen away. And urged on by the support of village chiefs, young people of the community have, in recent years, found the means to contribute to the betterment of their society through a variety of practical projects.
Director of the Vanuatu Immigration Service Henry Tamashiro … has been following developments on Tanna very closely and has been struck by the response of the population there, during and after the storm.
Describing the community’s priorities in the immediate aftermath of the storm, he explains, “They tried to re-conceptualize the meaning of ‘relief phase’ and ‘reconstruction phase’ in light of what they had been learning about community-building.
They concluded that the response to the cyclone could not just be about building structures. The most important thing to the community was to make sure the education of the children and youth would continue.”
Reflecting on the reconstruction process in Namasmetene village, Mrs. Naiu says, “These projects encouraged community members to arise and take charge of the reconstruction process rather than waiting for an aid agency. We knew we should not depend on aid donors, but should take charge of our own development”(Source: Bahá’í World News Service)
The presenter, PHILLIP HINTON was born in Britain in 1942. When he was four his family moved to Cape Town, South Africa, where he became a Bahá’í in 1961, and where he began his acting career. In 1963 he moved to London to attend the first Bahá’í World Congress, and worked for the next 12 years on TV and with some of Britain’s leading theatre companies, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Chichester Festival and The Bristol Old Vic Theatre as well as appearing in several musicals in London’s West End.
Phillip came to Australia in 1975 to continue his acting career. He has also been one of Sydney’s leading ‘voice artists’. For the ABC, Phillip read Bahá’í prayers in the series, ‘Meditation’ and was a guest of Caroline Jones on ‘The Search for Meaning’, in which he traced his spiritual search through writings and poems.
In 1992 at the Second Bahá’í World Congress in New York, Phillip took part in the drama, Heralds of the Covenant. His one-man play, ‘Portals to Freedom’, has toured the world, including a performance at the Seat of the Universal House of Justice in Haifa. In 2002 it was part of the first Bahá’í International Arts Conference and Performing Arts Festival in New York.