Toloa Community Fund presents gateway opportunity

posted: 9:00 pm - 24th November 2019
Project Wys STEM Day was a huge success. 2

(Picture caption: Supported by the Toloa Community Fund, Project Wy's STEM Day was a huge success.) 

The Toloa Community Fund has been a gateway opportunity for Faith City Trust Board (FCTB). 

It has allowed the organisation to not just run an event but to develop further avenues for Pacific students and their families to actively engage with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).

Based in Manukau, FCTB operates several community projects focused predominantly in South Auckland.

It was a recipient of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) 2018/19 Toloa Community Fund, set up to promote and increase the number of Pacific peoples in STEM related careers via Pacific organisations which deliver STEM related activities.

Project Wy is one of the projects FCTB facilitates, and it works with 200 mostly Pacific families, and 12 primary/intermediate schools from South and Central Auckland in a mentoring programme for young leaders and their parents together.

Project Manager Essendon Tuitupou says it targets Pacific students aged 10-13 years, and crucially their parents as well.

“Through mentoring parents alongside their children, FCTB raises leadership and educational aspirations for families,” Essendon says.

“Project Wy aims to increase awareness of STEM subjects, careers and opportunities.”

Using the Toloa Community Fund, Project Wy ran a successful STEM Day event for South Auckland students and their parents, in collaboration with Air New Zealand, Pasifika in IT and PB Technologies.  

“Subsequent to the event we carried on our collaboration with Pasifika in IT to run a six-month IT Mentoring programme utilising Pacific people already in the IT sector to mentor our students,” Essendon adds. 

“We also managed to organise a field trip for our families to the Air New Zealand Aviation Institute during the school holidays which was eye-opening.” 

The Toloa Community Funding helped run Project Wy’s STEM Day and raise awareness of STEM in the community, but it has also allowed FCTB to develop a partnership with other organisations. 

“This has benefitted us beyond just the event, and it has helped us expose our Pacific families to STEM industries as well as Pacific role models currently working in those industries.” 

Looking ahead, Project Wy is getting ready to do further work with Pasifika in IT in 2020, as well as continuing its relationship with the Manu Network of Air New Zealand around projects involving Project Wy schools. 

“This includes expanding our programme to include West Auckland schools in 2020 and East Auckland in 2021,” Essendon says. 

The Toloa Community Fund has undoubtedly assisted FCTB and Essendon encourages other organisations with ideas around STEM which could use some seed funding, to apply for the 2020 round. 

“Use the opportunity to do something that opens up further opportunities down the line,” he adds. 

Applications for the 2020 Toloa Community Fund are now open and close at 12pm, on December 2, 2019. Visit HERE for more information.