Naiqamu Assists Remote School to remain open
A total of 34 students in one of the most remote villages in the district of Saqani in Cakaudrove will now have the chance to continue with their education right at their doorstep after Minister for Forestry, Honourable Osea Naiqamu committed to help properly build the school.
Continuing with the 30MillionTrees15Years consultation tour, Minister Naiqamu visited Valovoni Village last Tuesday and visited Kabu kei Nailoca Infant School in Saqani.
Teacher-in-charge Mrs Aqela Raikidravu said she was overwhelmed meeting Minister Naiqamu and that she found him to be a very down-to-earth and humble man.
“The school is also fortunate that Minister Naiqamu has committed to making 34 wooden desks and chairs for students who are sitting on the floor during class,” Mrs Raikidravu said.
Valovoni Village which is situated 18 kilometres from the main road and is one of the most remote villages in the district of Saqani has 65 families whose children attend Kabu kei Nailoca Infant School.
Mrs Raikidravu shed tears after Minister Naiqamu also pledged to get Ministry of Forestry officials from the Timber Utilisation Division (TUD) in Nasinu to help renovate the school so that it adheres to Occupational Health & Safety Regulations (OHS) so that it remains open.
“Not only that, villagers will now have experts from the Ministry of Forestry to help them renovate the school and also build the teachers quarters.”
“There are three of us teaching here at the school but we don’t have quarters. We are residing with villagers so just with Minister Naiqamu’s visit today we have planned to get some major projects done.”
“If our school closes down, our children will have to travel long distances just to get an education,” Mrs Raikidravu said.
Mrs Raikidravu and students also took the time to plant sandalwood and fruit trees around the school.
Children from nearby villages namely Nacula and Nadogo also attend the school which was recently built in December last year.
School manager Mr Eparama Tainiciciwalu said villagers used money earned from kava sales to construct the school building which started in December last year.
“Villagers decided to build the new school after requests for assistance to the authorities failed to materialize,” Mr Tainiciciwalu said.
“We have asked for help but we got no response so we decided to build a school,” he said.
Mr Tainiciciwalu said before their children used a house in Valovoni Village, but parents decided to build a proper school and raised funds to do that.
He added they had used about $12,000 on the current school building which the Ministry of Health is intending to close down.
“We are so fortunate that the Minister of Forestry Honourable Osea Naiqamu is here today and not only is he here for sightseeing while visiting our school, he has made a commitment to help us renovate our school and also provide much needed desks and chairs for the students,” Mr Tainiciciwalu said.