A, FIJI. 1 November 2016 – The Honourable Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, Dr. Mahendra Reddy, today attended a launch at Nabau District School in Ra, to mark the start of the distribution of 100 photocopiers and 73 generators to 118 schools affected by Cyclone Winston.
The photocopiers and generators have arrived in Fiji and will be delivered to the target schools in the coming weeks.
These crucial supplies were procured by UNICEF with funds from the Australian Government and will be distributed by the Ministry of Education.
Hon. Minister Reddy said during the launch at the school, “I am pleased to be here in person at Nabau District School on this momentous day. The addition of a photocopier and generator means a great deal to the school and will enable them to continue providing quality education for all its school children.
“After any emergency, preventing interruptions to education is a key priority. In the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Winston, the Ministry of Education worked with partners such as the Australian Government and UNICEF to distribute school tents to act as temporary classrooms and school supplies to replace those that were damaged. We are grateful for this support that ensured school children did not have prolonged interruptions to their education,” Minister Reddy added.
Ms. Joanne Choe - Counsellor, Humanitarian Response and Recovery, from the Australian High Commission in Fiji also attended the launch and stated, “The impacts of Cyclone Winston are still being felt throughout Fiji. As we head into the next cyclone season, we are pleased to support the delivery of supplies such as generators and photocopiers to help schools continue to function and provide quality education.
“Schools are often the central location where communities take shelter during emergencies, so having access to a generator not only helps the school children but also helps the entire community.”
UNICEF Pacific Deputy Representative, Vathinee Jitjaturunt added, “The Education Cluster, led by the Ministry of Education and co-led by UNICEF, achieved much success in the immediate aftermath following Cyclone Winston and in the months since. UNICEF has also pre-positioned supplies, such as tents and education materials, in countries like Fiji so that they can be distributed immediately in the aftermath of an emergency.
“For the safety and well-being of all school children in Fiji, it is important to ensure that all schools are safe. School safety is everyone’s responsibility, including children, teachers, communities, governments, development partners and the private sector. To minimise the impact of future disasters on schools, UNICEF is committed to supporting the Ministry of Education in school disaster risk reduction and in ensuring schools and children are more resilient to future disasters or emergencies,” Ms. Jitjaturunt added.
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