NATION

Rakiraki Students See Hope For Their Future After Open Day

It was about one-and-a-half-years ago that Tropical Cyclone Winston had made landfall on Fiji. It destroyed many schools, most of which are still in the process of being rebuilt, destroyed
29 Jul 2017 11:00
Rakiraki Students See Hope For Their Future After Open Day
Penang Sangam High School students during the University of the South Pacific Open Day on July 28, 2017. Photo: Monica Aguilar

It was about one-and-a-half-years ago that Tropical Cyclone Winston had made landfall on Fiji.

It destroyed many schools, most of which are still in the process of being rebuilt, destroyed homes, took lives and affected our economy as a whole.

Penang Sangam High School headgirl, Priyashna Singh, attending the University of the South Pacific Open Day yesterday said it gave her hope for her education.

After seeing part of her school roofless, muddy and scattered with debris after Winston hit her hometown, Rakiraki, Priyashna wondered whether she would have any future left in her education.

“It was in the afternoon when Winston hit our side of the country. I was sitting on my bed in my room and became shocked when I heard the sound of the rain getting stronger and stronger and the wind blowing louder and louder.

After a few minutes she felt the dust blowing onto her skin.

Within a few minutes after calling out to her family, the roof of her wooden house was blown off within seconds, leaving her and her family of seven hiding under a queen sized bed until it felt a bit safe to seek shelter elsewhere.

Priyashna’s family had another wooden house that had been put out on rent but luckily there were no tenants, so she and her family had moved to the empty house until the next morning.

The 18-year-old, the second youngest of five siblings, plans to pursue a degree in Accounting and Information System next year at USP.

She aims to work hard so she can help her family by supporting them financially and to build a safer concrete house.

Also at the Open Day was 16-year-old Rakiraki Public High School student Eshleyn Lata who had travelled from Rakiraki to Suva to attend the National Physics Competition yesterday.

Afterwards, she dropped by USP with her sister Priti Narayan to plan her future career.

Similar to Priyashni’s situation, Eshelyn’s school was also affected by Cyclone Winston.

On the day after the horrendous cyclone, Eshleyn saw the Year 10’s classroom and part of the school in a horrific state.

It was roofless, and muddy and the desks and chairs were everywhere.

“For a few forms like Year 11, our classes were held in tents,” she said.

“We found it very difficult to do our tests, study and concentrate especially during the rainy weather because of the muddy environment.

“It was really bad and very disgusting,” said Eshleyn.

She said the environment discouraged her from going to school.

“But even though I went through that, I still forced myself to go to school because I want to become something in life,” said Eshelyn.

The Year 12 student said construction work on the school premises had begun this year and she was thankful, her form has been moved to one of the school’s classrooms.

After visiting the different faculties and exploring her options at USP, Eshleyn wants to become a doctor.

“I want to become a doctor and make my parents feel proud so that when I earn in the future I will pay them back for all their hard work.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  monica.aguilar@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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