The Australian Government will rebuild several schools in Ra and on Koro Island as part of its contribution to Fiji’s recovery and reconstruction following Tropical Cyclone Winston.

Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, made the announcement today while visiting Vatukacevaceva Village School with Fiji’s Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, Dr Mahendra Reddy.  Vatukacevaceva Village School, located just outside Rakiraki in Ra Province, is one of the schools that will be rebuilt.


Senator Fierravanti-Wells credited the Fiji Government with reopening schools promptly following Tropical Cyclone Winston and prioritising school rehabilitation.  She also acknowledged the resilience of the staff, students and parents of Vatukacevaceva Village School.

“Rebuilding schools is an important part of rebuilding lives and bringing stability back to a community.  I am proud that Australia was amongst the first of the countries to assist Fiji in Winston’s aftermath.  That is what good friends and neighbours do, we help each other in times of need,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.

The Australian Government will work closely with the Fiji Government to ensure that structures are disability-inclusive and resilient to future disasters.  The rebuilding work will be implemented through the Australian Government’s Access to Quality Education Programme (AQEP).

Minster Reddy thanked Australia for its support and noted the importance of rebuilding our schools to provide a proper learning environment to our children.

“On behalf of the Fiji Government, I thank the Prime Minister of Australia and the people of Australia for being with us following the devastation caused by Cyclone Winston and assisting us for relief and rehabilitation.  The Fijian people will always remember this,” Minister Reddy said.

The Australian Government, through AQEP, will work with school management and communities throughout the rebuilding process to ensure each school’s individual needs are met.

The Head Teacher of Vatukacevaceva Village School, Epeli Soqonakavika, was grateful for the timely support.

“We are very fortunate to be one of the schools assisted by the Australian Government through AQEP.  The teachers and students have been facing a lot of difficulties since Tropical Cyclone Winston.  We are looking forward to the day when our school returns to normal,” Soqonakavika said.

The school rebuilding programme will be funded by Australia’s FJ$53 million package of assistance to Fiji following Tropical Cyclone Winston.  It will include Koro High School, several primary schools on Koro as well as 12 schools in Ra, including: Barotu Primary School, Bayly Memorial Primary School, Bucalevu Primary School, Bureiwai District School, Liwativale Primary School, Madhuvani Primary School, Namuaniwaqa Village School, Naroko Primary School, Nasau District School, Navunibitu Catholic School, Tokaimalo District School and Vatukacevaceva Village School. SOURCE: DFAT/PACNEWS [/restrict]