ILIA Primary School in east Honiara was one of the earliest schools to have been established in the area.
Built in the early 1970s, it was located a few kilometres from the Borderline bus stop and a few hundred steps to the recently established Normal Palmer or Christ the King school at nearby Gilbert camp.
As a kid in the 1990s, we used to play around the school compound that was surrounded by beautiful flowers and green lawns.
The school has a two store-building that gave the students sufficient space to move around and learn.
The school was the brainchild of Robert Rea’a, who wanted a school for children within the area.
From what I was told, this was the first school to be built in the Borderline area of east Honiara.
Ilia was the pride of the community until 1999 when the so-called ethnic tension broke out.
Parents and supporters of the school have bigger plans to develop it before the tensions.
When the tensions occurred, the school suffered badly as a result of vandalism and stealing.
It was not only closed down, but was left in ruins until 2008 when it reopened again.
The school operates classes from pre-class to standard six.
Very little had happened at the school until lately, which promoted me to visit the school.
Despite the many challenges Ilia had been through, it continued to offer the education for children of the community.
But there’s one significant disadvantage the school had.
It has no toilet.
Students recalled when nature called, they have to go back to their houses to relieve themselves or turn to the nearby bushes.
The problem persisted until today.
The school’s deputy head teacher John Shedrack said the lack of toilet at the school was a major set back and a challenge.
“We were all affected by the situation,” he said.
“When nature calls, one has to rush back home to relieve oneself,” he added.
Paul Maete’e, a parent of the school, said the situation became what it was due to lack of cooperation among parents.
“Things like toilets should not be an issue if parents work together with teachers to address the problem,” Mr Maete’e said.
“I’ve been a parent of this school for a while and one thing I noticed was lack of support from parents.
“When we sent out requests to parents to come and attend meetings, they never do so.
“This school needs the hands from authorities, parents and other stakeholders to develop it,” he said.
After many years without a toilet, non-government organisation Live & Learn has finally come to the aid of the school.
The organisation has funded new toilets for the school.
A spokesman for the organisations said when UNICEF brought the matter to their attention they decided to step in.
The toilet issue is expected to solve when current work is done.
This will ensure the more than 400 students attending the school don’t have to rush home in the middle of their classes when nature calls.
By LESLEY SANGA