Retiring Cathy - Solomon Star News

Retiring Cathy

17 May 2014

Dear Editor – I wish to share my view on the premature calling of retirement for Catherine Anilafa from the Solomon Islands Red Cross Children school.

Catherine is the current head mistress of the Special development centre since 70s, and although she deserves a retirement now, I as a parent representing all the others thinks that the Red Cross had made an unwise decision to give only three months notice before she finishes on the 30th August, 2014.

I think that this is a very short notice and it is a shock to a lot of us.

What we can’t understand is has the S.I Red Cross asked Cathy her opinion?

Or ask the teachers and the students at the centre? I know her announcement had already caused a lot of tears and sadness amongst the disabled students, and what next is already a worry.

We know that the S.I Red Cross is trying its review to improve the standard or level of special education for students and teachers alike, however to do such improvements it takes time and efforts to achieve such goals, and for the special centre  it’s different story, it takes a lot of love, patience, tolerance and dedication.

I have not seen enough of the quality with people working with her, Am sorry to mention this, but it’s a real fact.

My concern here is, who will be good enough to really fit into her shoes?

Although she might be now at  her retirement age,  but comparing her with other younger teachers or persons working with her, she is outstanding.

I’ve seen  her at times working, digging out mud when the centre is flooded, she does not complain, when parents come to clean the school compound, she’ll do it without complain, when parents fail to bring their children to school, she’ll drive the old school bus to pick them up, she’ll hug and carry the disabled children, giving them encouragement and a gentle pat on the heads of the other older ones.

She has the most beautiful smile that often cheers students when they feel down or sick, she is a firm and a solid person who often meant what she said, such as a Yes! Is a Yes or a No is a No.

Her efforts in building the special development centre is something that this country or S.I Red Cross should thank her for her excellent service, these are the kind of people that we should not let go easily their vast experience and knowledge about their job is something we just can’t let it slip through our fingers.

What I see in Cathy is the gentleness and very humble attitude within her is quite unique, therefore this brings question to my mind.

What has gone through the thoughts of S.I Red Cross decision makers to offer her retirement?

For one clear thought why can’t they allow her to finish her job in December? So that she can properly say good bye to the disabled children whom she loved so much.

I’m sure she would like to see her older students sit their exams, and making ways out for them to enter other higher education level.

However, since this is the decision done by the S.I Red Cross, I hope that someone who will be replacing her would be smarter, committed and dedicated like her to carry out the Job.

I’ve come to realise that Cathy had also been helping the S.I.N.U teachers for many years in terms of assisting in supporting in the area of special education, also in the programme called the Inclusive Education in order to help many children who can’t attend normal classes due to problems such as not being able to read, write, behaved properly and the list goes on.

I didn’t realise that without her encouragement way back in the 1990’s, without her knowledge as an Audiologist by profession, the hospital would not have an ENT clinic today.

Many thanks to you Cathy!

Lastly to the S.I Red Cross I hope the decision you had just made will not affect the education of the disabled children.

I hope you had taken away something that meant so much to them, and the meaning of what it takes to be equal with everybody else, maybe you had not realise this, But, we have seen it in our own children.

What Cathy always said to us parents some years back was “The impossible is what nobody can do until somebody does it”.

My son is an excellent carpenter, now married and have two children, he is totally deaf.

We owe Cathy all these joy to many others whom, whose lives she had touched.

Many thanks to Cathy, one strong and real Solomon Islander

We know your retirement would only way you to help others more.

John Tasa