NATION

STRONGER AFTER WINSTON

Balevuto Primary School in Ba, was established 66 years ago and had withstood a number of cy­clones over the years including Hurri­canes Bebe (1972), Nigel (1985) and Eric (1985). In
28 Jan 2018 11:00
STRONGER AFTER WINSTON
Students of Balevuto Primary School in Ba with their teachers on January 26, 2018. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Balevuto Primary School in Ba, was established 66 years ago and had withstood a number of cy­clones over the years including Hurri­canes Bebe (1972), Nigel (1985) and Eric (1985).

In February 2016, the building which houses bulk of the classrooms, was not able to withstand the wrath of Catego­ry five Tropical Cyclone Winston. Total devastation was all one could see.

Consequently, a complete rebuilding programme was needed to ensure the education of Balevuto children faced minimal disruption. Students are mainly children of cane farmers whose farms are strewn over this booming farming community in the heart of this Ba sugarcane belt.

When the new school year opened a fortnight ago, 62 students sighed with relief when entering their well-venilat­ed classrooms with white boards and neatly tiled floors.

Vasemaca Rawai, 12, a Year Six stu­dent said: “After (Cylone) Winston I was in the tent. Now we find ourselves in this new building. I do feel happy about it.

“There is more group creativity due to the spacious interiors. We don’t feel hot inside. We have fans and it is more re­laxed to study. We expect the results to improve tremendously.”

Nitisha Devi, 10, said that while study­ing in makeshift classrooms in hot tents, she learnt of the need to be pa­tient and wait for good things to turn up.

“I feel happy now and enjoy study more. We had to be patient for some time and wait for positive things to come,” she said.

The school is attended by children from Balevuto Village, which is three kilometres away, and the settlements of Dogosu and Vatawai, which are five and seven kilometres away respectively.

Headteacher Neel Sanjay Prasad said: “The teachers and the students are overwhelmed to carry out their duties in such an environment,” he said.

“We thank the Fijian Government, and the Adopt A School programme ini­tiative.”

Mr Prasad said the previous school site was demolished, and the founda­tion levelled out for an outdoor court for sports. The school is also blessed to have a generator as a back-up, nine sets of computers, and a new library.

The school is also being used as an evacuation centre during the natural disasters. Edited by George

Kulamaiwasa

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