The handover ceremony was attended by George Sutcliffe, provincial member for ward 26 North Kolombangara, provincial minister of Tourism Mr Ghemu, Kolombangara Forest Products Limited (KFPL) General Manager Dan Raymond and Western Sub Officer of SDA, Pr Kelena Hana.
Japanese ambassador Shigeru Toyama said the completion and official opening of the first Japanese Grassroots project on Kolombangara island was a remarkable and historical event.
He said the project was signed in January 2019 between the Embassy of Japan and Varu Primary School.
He said Japan contributed about $640,000 in total to build the new classroom building and staff house to improve learning environment for the children and teachers of Varu School.
He also expressed his gratitude towards the head teacher of Varu School and school Board members for their strong leadership towards the completion of the project.
Toyama also thanked and appreciated the contractor, who was able to complete the project according to the time-line.
“I would also thanked the community people for their big support and strong commitment. It is really appreciated all of you responded timely and fulfilled your duties respectively,’’ he said.
‘’Now this classroom building is yours, please enjoy learning at the new classrooms and keep in mind that you can be anything you want such as a doctor, nurse pilot and engineer if you study hard.
‘’And please remember that you will take good care of your classrooms so that many people in your community will able to learn many things and be remembered as a symbol of the friendship between the people of Japan and Solomon Islands for many years to come,’’ he adds.
Tokyama further stated that under Japan’s Classrooms and Human Security Project Scheme, school projects are priority areas to focus on human basic needs of the people of Solomon Islands.
He said Japan recognized that education is the base human resource, base of the society and base of the country.
‘’Embassy of Japan is willing to continue our efforts in assistance for the education field to see more happy faces in many places of Solomon Islands and to cultivate cordial relationship between Japan and Solomon Islands,’’ Tokyama said.
MPA for North Kolombangara Sutcliffe George thanked the Government and people of Japan through its commitment towards the Grassroots Development Assistance Programme under Japan Embassy for the improvement and strengthening of education services to Solomon Islands.
‘’On behalf of the community of North Kolombangara Ward 26, I also thanked the Chief Education Officer (Western) for the Education Division’s role in continued facilitation of education services in Western Province,’’ he said.
‘’We are all aware of the fact that, funding for socio-economic development is often difficult to secure because of competing cross –sector needs at the provincial and national government levels.
“This has continued to hold back the desired development goals that we continue to hear about in the National Government and Provincial Government’s development strategies and goals.”
He also said that the facilities that are being handed over is a mix part of matrix of efforts geared towards getting high quality students in Varu Primary School.
‘’We must not stop here but to look ahead and start thinking about continuation of high quality primary students in this school over the next few years,’’ said Sutcliffe.
He further stated that Varu children and teaching staff are most fortunate to have a new classroom for their new learning and a new staff house for teachers.
‘’Use these facilities to benefit the education of the children, look after them so that it will be used to the maximum benefit of attaining high quality outcomes that we all so desire,’’ he concluded.
KFPL General Manager, Dan Raymond also thanked and acknowledged the people of Japan for the hard work and support towards the completion of the project.
He also thanked the original vision for the project from the chairman and the people of Varu community.
He acknowledged the contractor of the building and his team from the KFPL and also for the help and support of supplying timbers for the newly complex building.
By ULUTAH GINA