What A Difference A Little Cool Air Makes!

What A Difference A Little Cool Air Makes!

Temperatures in the Northern Territory are among the highest in Australia, especially in summer. This can pose a few challenges when considering attendance rates and education plans for young children in a hot and dry climate.

After completing our second classroom build last year, making classrooms at the Watarrka School comfortable and functional has been a big focus for the Foundation, and staff members at the school. The air con project has been on the cards for a while now, and thanks to the help of a few generous donors we’ve been able to organise and implement new air conditioning units throughout the school building.

The Impact Of Cool Air

With average temperatures in the Watarrka region reaching 35 – 40 degrees, opening windows and blowing fans isn’t quite enough for a comfortable learning environment.

Luckily, as the school children have grown up in the area, they can usually handle the heat quite well. However Christine Munro, Teacher at the Watarrka School has noted the vast improvements in focus and comfort since the air con units have been installed.

"I wasn't expecting miracles but the last few months have been very positive. Sitting in the cool we simply get more learning done. The kids are less irritable, more focused and generally happier to be here - as it sizzles away outside at 42 degrees. The new air con units are making a great difference to the student's education out here at Lilla.” 

- Christine Munro, Teacher at the Watarrka School

Since the air con units have been installed, Christine has noted a slight increase in attendance rates over the past couple of months. Students of Watarrka School come from humble households which usually don’t have any cooling systems, so having the option to spend the day in a cool environment is a great incentive to boost school attendance and help encourage the children to focus on their education. We hope to see further improvements in attendance rates in the long run as a result of the air con units.

Above: Children at the Watarrka School playing in the air conditioning

Bringing The Project Together

At the centre of this project was David Hewitt, who generously co-ordinated the project from Alice Springs and organised competitive quotes from various Aircon suppliers in the area. CKS Engineering were eventually selected to supply and install the 2 units. David, an electrician by trade, travelled to Lilla with the CKS team and did all the electrical work. The Kings Canyon Resort generously provided their on-site plumber to complete all the plumbing work required.

The project was jointly funded by the Moorabbin Rotary Club in Melbourne, Mentone Grammar, and the Watarrka Foundation.

Our Major Donor - Moorabbin Rotary Club

The Moorabbin Rotary Club have been an ongoing donor and supporter of the Watarrka Foundation, and generously donated half of the total cost of the air con project.

The Rotary club of Moorabbin is based in the southern suburbs of Melbourne. It is a small club (19 members), one of 35,000 clubs in over 200 countries around the world. Rotary began as a business network over 110 years ago, made up of men and women across all professions and vocations. It has since evolved into an international service organization to provide humanitarian aid and promote good will and peace throughout the world.

The Moorabbin Rotary Club has three major fund raisers; a charity golf day, spellathons at schools and a Sunday market, selling bric-a brac.

The club projects include:

· Supporting MS suffers locally and MS research nationally.
· Running youth leadership camps, public speaking, science scholarships for local schools.
· Drought relief for farmers through using Rotary clubs in the stricken areas.
· Supporting programs to rehabilitate homeless and victims of family violence.
· Mental health research programs.
· Internationally supporting:-
- Literacy clean water, sanitation and ‘wheelchair for kids’ programs
- Plastic surgery for children suffering cleft palates, burns and deformities
- Eradication of polio by world-wide collaboration with all Rotary clubs around the world.
- Vaccination research for prevention of Malaria, world-wide collaboration with all Rotary clubs.

And the club has recently added the Watarrka Foundation as a cause they plan to support on an ongoing basis.

"Recently it has been our club's good fortune to discover the Watarrka Foundation and their fantastic support of the local Watarrka community. We began our relationship by funding the desk computers for the students graduating to the senior classroom. We knew another essential item with the encroaching summer was an air-conditioning system if the students were expected to concentrated on their studies in the classroom. We were happy to jointly fund this project and see it as a great investment of funds from the club. 

We plan to continue an on-going relationship with the Lilla community, the Watarrka Foundation and the school in the years ahead, including visits, and hope soon to see the students achieving their goals on the way to their chosen careers.” 

- Geoff Gray, member of the Moorabbin Rotary Club

Above: Geoff Gray (Moorabbin Rotary Club) presenting a cheque to Christine Munro (Teacher at the Watarrka School). 

To learn more about the Moorabbin Rotary Club, visit their website: rotarymoorabbin.org.au

To support the Foundation and our future projects, make a donation at www.givenow.com.au/watarrkafoundation


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