Students ‘struggle’

Emotional women of Nabavatu Village, Rosa Liganimasi, left, and Viviana Tobu, with children, share their challenges of living in tents for the past 18 months. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

The academic performance of children living in tents in Dreketi, Macuata, for the past 18 months has dropped. Alarmed parents were in a meeting with teachers last week to discuss the issue.

The children are from families who were relocated from Nabavatu Village a year and a half ago after cracks appeared on infrastructure and the village lawn.

They were moved to the Assemblies of God church compound and have been living in tents ever since.

Rosa Liganimasi, whose grandchildren were among those affected, described the situation as “a dilemma”.

“We feel sorry for our children because they have no time to do their studies as we only have solar lights which do not provide enough brightness for studies at night,” she said.

“Our children and grandchildren are struggling and it’s not easy for them. We can see it in the way their academic performance had dropped.

“It’s also difficult because families share one tent so everyone sleeps in the same area and there’s no privacy.”

Other parents shared similar sentiments and pleaded with village leaders to work out a program to help the affected students.

Village headman Viliame Naibono said by 5pm every day, all games and extra-curricular activities were stopped and students were told to shower and prepare for their studies.

“The teachers were here last week to discuss this issue as our children’s academic performance has dropped,” he said.

“Many parents are worried, and it’s not an easy situation, so we have sat with parents to discuss this and work out a timetable for the children.

“These children now have a program and by 6pm they are to study, but during this time with longer nights, most have used torches or phone lights to brighten the room as solar lights don’t give enough brightness for studies.”

Mr Naibono said they have pleaded with villagers to work together until they were permanently relocated.

  •   The Fiji Times made several attempts via email and phone to contact Education Minister Premila Kumar and permanent secretary Anjeela Jokhan on the claims made by the villagers. These were unsuccessful.

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