How to get involved

You can involve yourself with the work of the Trust by donating money or volunteering. We welcome both! If you would like to volunteer, get in touch with us – our contact details are at the bottom of this page. If you would like to donate, scroll down for details of our various funds. You can also purchase “gifts” for your friends and family. Details on how to donate and purchase gifts are also at the bottom of this page.

School fees fund 

Receiving a basic education in rural Vanuatu is tough. Until 2010, primary school was not subsidised by the government. Many parents struggle to find sufficient funds to pay their children’s school fees. The main source of income in rural Vanuatu comes from harvesting coconuts to make copra. It is a laborious task with small returns. The fees for secondary school have not been waived as yet, costing approximately NZD$1000 per year for each child.

In 2011, the Butterfly Trust promised to subsidise the further education of 28 boys and girls in their final year of primary school at Sangalai Centre School. With the help of donations from our sponsors, each child received a subsidy to give him or her a headstart into secondary school in 2012. Without this assistance, a substantial proportion of students would either have left school at this early stage or have been forced to interrupt their studies until such time as sufficient funds could be raised. 

The Butterfly Trust has continued to provide ongoing assistance to boys and girls in their final year of primary school at Sangalai who qualify to attend secondary school. We sponsor pupils from Year 9 through to Year 13. We currently support 25 pupils to attend secondary school by awarding academic and hardship scholarships of up to one half of each year’s fees. Three of our pupils have now gone on to receive Vanuatu government scholarships to study at university in Fiji.

The fund is administered by the Butterfly Trust Committee on the Maskelyne Islands and the Trust audits the bank account and payments.

David Esau and Jeloty Kalosin were both from the Sangalai Centre School in the Maskelynes and have each received a contribution towards their school fees.

Click here to find out about some other recipients.

To help brighten the future of these eager young boys and girls, make a donation to the School Fees Fund or purchase of gift of school fees for family and friends.

We make no deductions from your donation. 100% of it goes to the communities you help us support.

Kindergarten training

In 2014 we started a programme of training kindergarten teachers. This programme is run in partnership with Pikinini Playtime, a kindergarten in Port Vila, Vanuatu. In 2015 this programme was extended to training kindergarten committees. We work closely with the Ministry of Education, Malampa Office, to ensure that the training accords with the local curriculum and other training. We are currently working with kindergartens from all around southeast Malekula.

All donations to this programme, like all other donations, go directly to the costs of the training. There is no deduction for administrative fees of the Trust.

Vocational training fund

The Trust has organised workshops in building and construction and in solar power installation and generator maintenance. In 2015/2016 it ran “Build Back Safer” education courses in Port Vila and Malekula in partnership with Caritas and IOM. We did this to assist adults with few or no qualifications gain further skills, to promote self-reliance and to generate income opportunities. In the “Build Back Safer” courses, we also helped strengthen the local building stock to withstand future disasters, and built community structures for future community use.

Make a donation to this training fund or purchase a gift card for family and friends.

Again, no administrative deductions will be taken from your donations.

Health and health education work

The Trust concentrates on providing community health education to remote communities in Vanuatu, plus facilitating a core group of medical and dental practitioners (both local and from overseas) to mentor local practitioners and to provide some clinical care. In partnership with the Vanuatu Ministry of Health, it runs and maintains a small dental clinic at the Health Centre at Lamap in south Malekula.

On behalf of the Ministry of Health, the Trust is also steering a project exploring the establishment of a palliative care service for the whole of Vanuatu.

The Trust is also supporting ASSB (Aloha Social Services Bangladesh) by sourcing volunteer doctors to work in ASSB’s rural hospital in northern Bangladesh. The volunteers receive free accommodation, a living allowance, and some expenses. If you would like to volunteer, or know someone who may be interested, please contact us.

Make a donation to this health fund or purchase a gift card for family and friends.

Again, no administrative deductions will be taken from your donations.

General donations

If you wish to make a general donation to the Butterfly Trust, 100% of your contribution will either be placed towards a specific fund or distributed between various health and education projects. Your donation is very valuable and will help us provide training to teachers, vocational tutors, nurses, doctors, dentists and dental therapists. It could also be used to improve the facilities and structures in which these people work.

Gifts for family & friends

Gifts for any amount you specify will be gratefully accepted. For example, you can gift a week’s schooling or a day’s training.

As a guide, the costs of subsidising secondary school fees in Vanuatu are as follows (all in NZ dollars):

  • 1 week’s schooling for $25
  • A fortnight’s contribution $50
  • 1 month’s schooling for $100
  • Fund a term at school $330
  • Send a child to school for one year $1000

The costs involved in training up to 15 students on a 10-day workshop include:

  • Trainer’s per diem $100/day
  • Teaching resources & tools  $50 per student
  • Trainer’s transport & accommodation  $50/day

 We will send you a card  for you to write your message before gifting to your friends and loved ones.

How to volunteer, purchase your gift or make a donation

Donations can be deposited to: Account 12-3233-0464934-50 (reference either ‘School Fees’, ‘Kindergarten Training’, ‘Vocational Training’, ‘Community Health’, or ‘General’).

To place an order for a Butterfly Trust Gift Card, contact us on

To volunteer, email us on the address above or telephone +64 21 981 553.