As the 2012 school year closed and the 2013 year began, the GVI Education team can now reflect on the progress and achievements made during the first full academic year completed at Ratu Meli Memorial School (RMMS).
Throughout this academic year there have been several key developments in the Education Program which have resulted in positive changes at RMMS. Literacy levels have improved across the whole school and international volunteers have helped foster new enthusiasm for reading, boosting the confidence of the pupils. The one-on-one tuition program now provides ongoing support to pupils with learning difficulties and over the last year has ensured that 26 pupils are no longer as far behind their peers. School environment improvements, including a new computer lab, have created a more stimulating learning environment for the pupils and a number of health initiatives have improved nutrition, sanitation and the availability of fresh water.
In order to successfully develop and improve the education program at RMMS in 2013, GVI asked the class teachers and headmaster to complete a questionnaire and participate in feedback sessions with GVI staff. The teachers’ response was extremely positive, particularly with respect to the increased confidence they have observed in their pupils when speaking English. All the teachers described how the additional support offered by GVI appointed class volunteers has alleviated the pressure of their workload and broadened the experience of the students. In addition, the teachers highlighted the impact the one-on-one program has had on the slow learners and that they would not normally have sufficient time to provide individual support to students who are furthest behind in their classes. All of the teachers articulated their thanks for GVI’s contribution to the school’s infrastructure with the improvements to the toilet block, library and classrooms.
Overall it has been a successful year for the GVI Education Program. The relationship between GVI and RMMS is cemented and has proven to be productive. Pupils, teachers and volunteers have responded positively and with enthusiasm to the teaching assistance program delivered. GVI Fiji is dedicated to providing long-term support and despite the successes of this year, there is still work to be done at RMMS. The Education Program will continue to evolve next year, building on the achievements of 2012 and working towards a new set of objectives to continue enriching the education provided at RMMS.
In collaboration with the RMMS community, GVI have established a set of core objectives that will shape the program in 2013
- Water and sanitation improvements, including additional RWH systems and compost toilets in time for the next dry season
- Waste management plan
- Health and Hygiene, Environmental Protection and Peace and Tolerance awareness lessons
On 17th December 2012, Severe Tropical Cyclone Evan hit the Fijian islands, causing catastrophic damage. Damaging heavy waves, rain and thunderstorms including severe flash flooding hit the Yasawas and Western Division. The Yasawas communities where the GVI Charitable Trust work was severely affected. Winds exceeding 125 mph brought down trees, blocking roads and blowing away homes/roofs with widespread power and water outages. Many have already lost all their belongings. Major flooding is a high concern with powerful swells hitting the coastal communities and more rains to come.
The community of Nacula in the Yasawa Islands, Fiji already has access to only very basic resources with a severe lack of fresh water, power, nutritious food and education. As a result of Cyclone Evan, many of these families will be much worse off. With currently 13,976 evacuees in 242 Evacuation centres, assistance is being provided to underprivileged children through the Care and Protection Program set up through organisations such as the Red cross.
GVI has a close relationship with the Red Cross and regional disaster preparedness operations and GVI Fiji 's Country Director is an elected Executive of Nadi Red Cross. As such, the GVI Charitable Trust has set up a new appeal to help raise funds for the communities we work with in Fiji. If you would like to help, please do have a look at our project page - http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/cyclone-evan-fiji/
Thank you for all your support in 2012 and we look forward to be in touch again in 2013!
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GVI Charitable Trust Manager