Eddie Betts is a local legend. Not only is he an incredible footballer, but he has a heart of gold. As someone who regularly comes across mentions of the man, what I hadn’t realised is that in his personal time, he’s also pretty awesome.
On a recent trip to Fiji, I came across the Eddie Betts Kindergarten, which was named in honour of the man, and all he’d done to bring it to fruition.
After visiting Fiji in 2015 with his wife Anna, Eddie wanted to return to help when they heard of the widespread destruction that had been caused by Cyclone Winston, which struck the South Pacific island in February, 2016.
After staying at at the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, which sits on the Coral Coast, Eddie discovered a great community tourism project that’s helping to develop a local school. The basic facilities are being replaced, with new buildings going up, as tourists and locals contribute to both the funding, and the physical construction of it.
Upon his return to Adelaide, Eddie tee’d up the Adelaide Football Club & the Crow’s Children’s Foundation, to help raise the funds needed to build the Kindy. He then brought Crows teammates Hugh Greenwood, Jake Lever, and Adelaide assistant coaches Matthew Clarke & Tate Kaesler back to Fiji to construct it.
Over 2000 Outrigger guests also donated some of their holiday time to work on the project at the Conua Primary School in the Sigatoka Valley.
The result? A $50,000 kindergarten, complete with the playground that the Outrigger picked up and moved from their own resort, so the kids at the school had a jungle gym to play on.
Betts said, “for ordinary villagers, raising funds to send their kids to school is already a struggle and raising funds to build a building like the kindergarten would take years.”
It’s amazing what we take for granted, and what a small amount of money for us, is able to achieve for this Fijian community.
A year on? The kindergarten has been well received and the school’s development is continuing.
If you stay at the Outrigger Fiji, you can get involved with the project, and for around $100 Aussie, you can spend half a day helping with construction of the school, with funds going towards its development, and you’ll also get lunch and time to spend with the kids. Bring your kids along for a grounding experience, for around $40.
I don’t know about you, but the thought that I can visit a place that’s only 4 hours (direct flight) from Adelaide, have a cracking holiday, and also give back to the community (year after year) really appeals to me. Plus, of course, you can visit the Eddie Betts Kindergarten.
Good luck this weekend Eddie! GO THE CROWS!