About Jump Start Foundation - Our Organisation History
It all began in 1990 when Heidi Dening, the founder and director of Jump Start Foundation, taught in a secondary school in Port Vila. Heidi instantly fell in love with the country and the people of Vanuatu, and felt a great affinity with their family values, community support and joyful nature.
While living in Vila, one of the most frustrating things Heidi found was that even though students had a great desire to have an education, sometimes due to family circumstances this could not happen.
Heidi was continually amazed and impressed with the teachers who were able to conduct excellent lessons with limited resources, and also with the students, who even though sometimes broke their pencils into three so there was enough to go around, would still turn up to class full of enthusiasm and an infectious willingness to learn. This taught her so much, both personally and professionally.
Since 2001, Heidi has taken fitness groups, corporate groups, school groups and volunteer groups to help with her purpose of providing life-changing opportunities through education via Jump Start Foundation (JSF).
JSF is a small, volunteer Foundation, that is passionate about supporting local community projects that larger organisations often overlook. JSF believes that everyone deserves to be educated and treated equally, and that education empowers people to improve socio-economic conditions for their families, communities, countries and future generations.
We have directly given a hand up (not a hand out) to over 1700 children, teachers and local businesses. This has been achieved by providing more than 2000 kilos of literacy resources, stationery, reading books, empowerment workshops, local employment, plus sport and travel sponsorships.
Our fundrasining dollars are always used to provide the appropriate resources and training after careful discussions with the local community, so that the right people reap the benefits.
JSF’s latest achievement of building a library at Isangel Central Primary School on Tanna, Vanuatu has become a practical and symbolic building for everything they hope to achieve for future generations in this community.
Our Life-Changing Projects
- Literacy Improvement Project – to improve literacy via libraries, resources, culturally appropriate books, education programs and local staff training and employment.
- Equality and Empowerment Project – to carefully educate about the importance of equality via empowerment workshops and life-skills programs.
When asked why she became so involved in education in Vanuatu, Heidi replied:
"Literacy is the key to successful participation in today’s society. When you are unable to read, there is a domino effect in all areas of your life because you can’t read a medicine bottle, an employment advertisement, a ballot form, a directional sign, or have the simple pleasure of reading a story. I also have an extra passion and commitment to the education of girls as it is widely acknowledged this this is the most powerful and effective way to address global poverty. Women who finish secondary school earn more money, have smaller, healthier families, and are more likely to educate their own children. This means that the cycle of illiteracy can be broken in one generation. I am hoping to be a part of breaking this cycle one girl at a time through our ‘Girls Education & Sport’ sponsorships. It’s not hard to do a little bit and every little bit makes such a big difference to these children in Vanuatu. Through my Foundation we have given children hope, skills and opportunity....which in turn changes their lives".
The purpose of Jump Start Foundation is to provide the following on a charitable basis:
- To improve the quality of life for those who do not have fair or equal educational opportunities.
- To provide and promote education in communities within the Asia / Pacific region.
- To foster a climate of mutual respect between Jump Start Foundation and its beneficiaries.
- To develop and encourage reciprocal ‘international connectedness’ between those who can help and those who need help.
- To consistently monitor and evaluate all projects on a regular basis.
- To do all such things and carry out all such other activities as may be necessary incidental or conducive to the attainment of the charitable purposes of the Foundation.
- To creatively develop an organisation that values its staff, volunteers and members and promotes a flexible and fulfilling environment in which to carry out its activities.
- To raise funds for the above purposes.
The funds of Jump Start Foundation will only be used in the furtherance of the above charitable purposes and the Foundation will be operated on a not-for-profit basis.