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(Health Force)




Youth Centres

The Youth Centres within Wan Smolbag continue to grow and thrive largely because of their responsiveness to youth needs and the resources both human and physical available. The Youth Centres offer a range of classes, leisure activities and sport for unemployed or out-of-school youth in Port Vila, Pentecost (Haulua Youth Centre) and Santo (Northern Care Youth Clinic & Yut Senta, aka NCYC) in partnership with Oxfam Australia.

The Youth Centres actively promote gender equality, and encourage holistic development by offering a wide range of educational, sporting, recreational and creative opportunities.  The youth Centre in Port Vila has an average of 1,000 members joining each year. The joining fee is kept to a nominal amount (100vt for the year) to encourage commitment, yet still be affordable for most families.

These services we offer aim to support our youth to
• Build knowledge, skills and confidence;
• Encourage self-reliance, resilience and leadership; and
• Promote positive participation of youth in Vanuatu’s socio-economic development.

Informal Education

Wan Smolbag offers a range of classes to help children, youth and adults alike a chance to gain new skills, gain experience and participate in new activities. In 2013 Wan Smolbag Youth centre has 18 different clubs on offer as well as a very popular sports program (download the brochure in Bislama):

  • Drama
  • Circus Skills
  • Fire Dance
  • Hip-Hop Dance
  • Rock-Step Dance
  • Computer classes
  • Sewing
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Pottery
  • Literacy beginners
  • Literacy advanced
  • Nutrition
  • Agriculture

As well as a number of music classes:

  • Keyboard
  • Guitar
  • Drums
  • voice
  • Full Band

Youth Exhibition held at Alliance Française


Yusum Mi Plei - educating the community about HIV and STI's

Photography Courses - In 2013, a volunteer and renown local photographer Dan McGarry will teach interested youth many aspects of the art and composition of photographing . Dan will utilise some of the old Love Patrol Canon cameras to expand the scope and experience of those youths wanting to explore further their interests in photography. Available Love Patrol camera and editing staff will also offer their skills and expertise throughout the year.

Pikinini Literacy -Pikinini (children's) literacy aims to provide basic literacy skills to those children who can't afford to attend the formal school system. This class has been running for two hours every weekday morning. In 2012 and has anywhere from 15 to 25 students attending these classes every day. In 2013 we have a fulltime literacy tutor who teaches a beginners class in the morning as well as intermediate level class in the afternoon.

Pikinini Plei Plei - Pikinini Plei Plei is an extension to the literacy pikinini programme. Every day after pikinini literacy class the children take part in fun exercise activities. This is a way to encourage participation, involvement in sport and as a way of keeping the literacy classes fun and interesting.
Pottery-In 2012 one of the docks in the recently purchased warehouse was converted into a pottery studio. David Shearer, an Australian volunteer, was instrumental in driving the project, sourcing materials required, as well as electric and manual operated  wheels donated from schools and studios in Australia. Two kilns were purposely designed and made and WSB yut senta now has a wonderful studio that we can all be proud of. Youth have been busy making pots, bowls, sculptures, plates and other earthenware artifacts both practical and aesthetic. A measure of how successful the pottery program has been is its popularity at two exhibitions held in 2012. An exhibition at Chantilly’s in August 2012 and at Alliance Francaise in November 2012saw over 500 pieces sold. Our youth receive 50% commission on pieces sold and the other half comes back to the pottery studio to endeavour to make the project self sustainable. Pottery had nearly been lost to the Ni Vanuatu community with the introduction of cheap plastic and aluminum cooking utensils. It was really encouraging to see how interested all generations within the local communities have been about the processes and skills involved in turning clay into works of art. In 2013 three local persons, namely, Henry, Brent and Sergio who have developed good skills and knowledge in design and making will share the tutoring of youth interested in pottery classes.
Sewing Classes-In 2013 WSB sewing classes will be trying out new styles of clothes making, utilizing contemporary designs that appeal to youth. Sewing class will work in with the art classes to incorporate painting and dying techniques onto the materials used. Youth will be able to showcase their finished items at several youth art exhibitions throughout the year.
Circus Skills-Circus class aims to teach you things you never thought you never could do; From juggling to hand stands to even ridding the unicycle. It runs as a drop in session Wednesdays and Friday afternoons for all ages and abilities. We hope that next year this class really takes off and a small scale circus show is in the pipe line!
Fire Dance-The Fire Dance club started in Late 2010 and in 2011 they got a weekly gig to show off their skills at the Mele Beach Bar. From then the group has grown to do weddings, birthday parties and independence celebrations. They also regularly perform 7 shows a week at different resorts around Vila. The group can be found practicing on Tuesday afternoons at WSB and at the weekends.
Computer Class-Computer classes prove very popular for all age groups at WSB. In 2013 we will run a variety of programs and lessons to meet the various needs and computer literacy levels of the youth. Short courses include: Introduction to Computers Level 1 and Level 2; Basic Microsoft Word and Microsooft Excel. There will be a class on Microsoft Power Point as well as classes on internet and email usage.
Vanuatu Rainbow Disability Theatre-In late 2012 Vanuatu Rainbow Disability Theatre produced its second play with the help of Wan Smolbag called “Ae Blong hem I blaen nomo” and went on tour to communities around Port Vila. In 2013 the group hopes to revive the play and do a tour of Santo. Wan Smolbag brought over a disability theatre group from Australia called ‘No Strings Attached’ in 2010. They performed a play and ran a workshop with the VSDP, attended by over 20 people with disabilities and their carer’s. Soon after this Rainbow Disability Theatre was formed to tell the story of the lives of people with disabilities and to hopefully change people’s perceptions of what it means to be disabled. ‘Ae blong hem I blaen nomo’ is inspired by the lives of the group and the challenges they face in everyday life. Rehearsals for the new play started in September 2012 with a much bigger cast than the previous year. Every morning the group have come together to rehearse in the dance room, have lunch at the Nutrition house and they have also become firm members of the Smolbag family by joining in classes at the Youth Centre.

Drama Class 2012


Cast from youth drama Hu Nai I rong


The Hu Nao I Rong Plei (who now is wrong) was funded by the UNICEF. This drama play focuses mainly on local issues that are happening in Vanuatu today. Violence is one of the main issue or problems that the children’s have faced at home or in the communities. This drama play had 25 youths or actors participating who came from different islands in Vanuatu but now live in port Vila. Most of this youths don’t have chance to go to school and also have no chance to find jobs. The play highlighted issues relevant to youths such as domestic violence, truancy, teenage pregnancy, unemployment, family relationship breakdown, theft and alcohol. The Hu Nao I Rong Plei was regularly performing for 40 minutes, followed by awareness that paste manly on the issues. After the awareness, followed by the Peer Educator gave out the information on reproductive health. This play participated Schools and the communities. Please see the above article that shows how the drama class enacting how ill treatment at home can create problems for a student at school. This can lead to a child loosing good values and can cause him or her to fall victim to illegal activities. There was much positive feedback on the play from the many communities’ members and Schools that viewed the performances. A common thread was that people said the play had an emotional impact on them and they felt both stimulated and challenged by the drama and that it helped them to rethink and to empathize about the many dilemmas facing youth today. 
Class Rotation Program- In 2012 we tried out some new programming to give the youth a taste of other classes available. It proved to be very successful and popular with the youth as they gained new experiences and networked with a broader range of peers throughout the two week programs. The activities inside Class Rotation included:

The activities inside Class Rotation included:

  • Arts & Craft
  • Fashion Step and Show
  • Hip Hop
  • Drama
  • Sport/Hockey and other sport disciplines
  • Literacy
  • Rock Step
  • Voice
  • Beauty
  • Sewing
Youths involved in Class Rotation Program

Kids Participated in Arts & Craft


The Youths playing the Name Game

We run a range of sports: 
  • Basketball
  • Petanque
  • Volleyball
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Futsal
  • Hockey 
  • boxing
  • Mama’s Cricket     
WSB provides a variety of opportunities for youth to be involved in both competitive and non competitive sports programs. Some highlights of 2012 included a representative male and female Hockey Teams travelling to Fiji in December to compete in the Pacific Games. The under 21 years men’s team will travel to Gold Coast Australia in February 2013 to compete Junior Olympics.
The Youth Centre actively encourages the participation of girls and women in sport. In 2012 we partnered with Vanuatu Rowing Association and 26 females had the chance to learn and practice rowing and skulling skills on the lagoon at Tassiriki. One of our youth, Gina Michel, went on to represent Vanuatu at the junior Olympics in Sydney in January 2013.

Girls Rowing Activities 2012


In 2012 Wan Smol Bag auspiced and facilitated the Shefa Boxing League. The Youth Centre organised eight boxing tournaments during the year where our youth were exposed to the experience of boxing against other boxing clubs from Efate. The tournaments were a pathway for dedicated boxers to gain selection to the Torba games in August, which in turn leads to the possibility of selection to the South Pacific Games. The boxing tournaments proved very popular with the local youth and community and saw the arena packed to the rafters whenever an event was on.

Beach Volleyball Mix Tournament


Boxing Tournament

Futsal-Wan Smol Bag also organised and facilitated a futsal tournament in 2012. Seven Women’s teams were registered for the women’s division. There were 10 premier men’s teams and 17 First Division men’s teams. Many teams had more than 20 players registered in each, so the popularity of the sport saw the futsal courts being utilised most days and evenings of the week.

Mama's Island Cricket


Kids participated in Hockey Tournaments

Nutrition Centre


Island Cricket Program


Catering Club Lunch


Youth Class


Class Tutor - Marie Bob


Events Catering


Nutrition Workshop for Caterers

Wan Smol bag youth centre opened its doors in March 2006 thanks to funding from JICA, Oxfam, AUS AID and NZ AID and a lot of youth participation to get things going.
Youth classes run from 9am-12pm Monday to Friday. These classes provide an opportunity for youth to learn how to cook. We use mostly local foods and use different methods of cooking from around the world. Recipes are simple to cook and nutritious. We use earth oven cooking, charcoal stoves, rocket stoves (wood fire stoves) and gas ovens.
Agriculture classes – showyouth how to plant local root crops, herbs, local fruit and nut trees. There are a number of field trips to local farmers, sandalwood plantations, produce suppliers and the farm support association.
Catering Club – provides Lunches for 50 to 80 people per day, open Monday to Friday 12pm sharp if you don’t want to miss out. Servings cost 300vt per head for a serve of soup of the day, carbohydrate and a salad. Mostly for WSB staff but also open to anyone interested in coming down for a cheap nutritious eat!
We also do events catering for afternoon or evening functions.
We are currently expanding our workshop running capacity. We ran workshops with Mama in the market, Head masters and cooks (as part of the Health School canteen program) run in partnership with the ministry of health, school kids program, reserve bank women, and WSB caterers with one of the high lights mentioned below being the Island cricket program.
After a very successful pilot project  in partnership with  Vanuatu Cricket  Association - Island Cricket program in 2012 involving Mamas from Ifira Community. The nutrition program proved very popular with participants  and has lead to the program being extended this year (2013).
In 2013 Mamas from Pango community and Seaside Community will be invited to attend the program. The program provides simple interactive information about good nutrition and how to introduce this to their family meals. Following nutrition classes, the mamas would have some coaching in cricket followed by a game of cricket.

Sample Activities

To give you an idea of some of the kinds of thing that the youth members get involved in......

The Disability Sports Day


Other specialised workshops run in 2012 included:
Sound Mixing Workshop
Songwriting Workshops
Comic Book Illustration Workshop
Training for staff on Mental Health Issues and Alcohol and Other Drugs Issues. 




Yumi Ol Yangfala - As part of an EU funded programme of support to the youth centre, the youth drama club in 2010 was regularly performing a 30 minute play called Yumi Ol Yangfala (Young people like us) for audiences from secondary schools. Written by Jo Dorras with input from drama workhops with the youth actors, it deals with issues of relationships, teenage pregnancy and violence but in a vibrant and humourous way, staged as a TV programme for young people. The play is then followed up thanks to AusAID support with an information session on reproductive health plus a familiarity visit to our clinic KPH. Media article. The comic book below, Gel Ambae Wetem Boe Tanna is based on the play.

The play was also performed for the general public as part of Vanuatu's 30th year of Independence celebrations in July 2010. Audiences were transported specially from Parliament Park in town, the main celebration site over Independence weekend, to visit the youth centre and watch the play.

  • Mr Right Guy (see DVDs)
  • Eniwan I Luk Rose film (see DVDs)
  • Nutrition comic books (see Books)
  • Gel Ambae wetem Boe Tanna (see Books)

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