PM: Children Need Structure, Sense Of Security

Small children need structure and a sense of security, and we need to help these children put the trauma of the cyclone behind them and get back to the business
01 Sep 2017 10:51
PM: Children Need Structure, Sense Of Security
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with children of Nativi Villlage Early Childhood Education Centre in Ra on August 31, 2017. Photo: Charles Chambers

Small children need structure and a sense of security, and we need to help these children put the trauma of the cyclone behind them and get back to the business of learning.

The comments were made by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama when he opened two Early Childhood Education centres in Ra and another centre and classroom block in Tavua.

The centres at Nabalabala and Nativi Villages in Ra and Natawa Primary School in Tavua cost Government $150,000 while the classroom block at Natawa Primary School in Tavua cost $175,000.

“Early childhood education is critical to children’s intellectual development, social development, and ability to learn,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“So we want to be sure that our precious little ones – who were infants only yesterday and now for the first time experiencing  the joy of learning, creating and making friendships – have a modern and safe environment.

“These school projects were not simple repairs. We did not simply fix what was broken, because that would not have served these children and their parents and the generations of children who will follow them here.

“Ra and Tavua bore the full brunt of the destructive force of Tropical Cyclone Winston last year, and the students had to be as brave as us adults.

“They were on the frontlines of the brutal winds and torrential rains, just like we were.”

Mr Bainimarama said he was in villages and communities all over Fiji, leading relief teams and assessing the extent of the damage and destruction.

“More than a year later, we are still rebuilding. Fiji can’t rebuild quickly overnight.

“But the recovery is coming together well. Fijians are pulling together, and we will soon be back to better-than-normal.

“The fact is that when we talk about resilience, we are not just talking about buildings and public utilities and roadways.

“Our most important assets are the resilience of the Fijian spirit and the Fijian determination to prevail. They are undiminished.”

Hurricane Harvey experience

He referred to the floods in Houston, Texas, brought about by Hurricane Harvey which have affected 6 million people.

He said the modern skyscrapers, refineries and stretches of high speed highways have been paralysed by nature.

Mr Bainimarama added this was a reminder of global warming and it showed that Fiji’s drive for greater resilience is not just a policy but was imperative.

He said anyone who did not believe in the increase in severity of storms like TC Winston only had to look at Texas.

Mr Bainimarama took a swipe at critics who did not share in the vision for a more resilient Fiji who only thought short term.

He said rushing the process of rebuilding only compromised the safety and security of ordinary Fijians and that was not good leadership.

“My Government will not do a slap-dash job putting up schools just to say we’ve gotten it done.

“We aren’t checking off items on a to-do list.

“We aren’t looking only to the time we are in office.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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