"I'm looking at the children, I'm looking at the interruption to their educational journey. The trauma they go through... I don't want to see that happen again."
- Peni Tavutonivalu, Fijian Hereditary Chief & PPP Elder

Background:

In February 2016 a devastating category 5 cyclone hit Fiji with winds in excess of 300 km per hour. Cyclone Winston wreaked havoc in many Fijian communities, resulting in widespread death and destruction. The misery left behind was unparalleled in the country's history. Estimates to rebuild the country's infrastructure topped $1.4 billion USD, and PPP advisors indicated that the country's resources were overwhelmed by the scope of the damage.

In the spring of 2016 members of the Canadian South Pacific diaspora responded to the Fijian government's call to 'Adopt a School' and organized as 'Canadian Friends of Fiji'. PPP was invited to participate upon selecting a school. 

In May 2016 Peni Tavutonivalu, a respected Fijian Hereditary Chief, PPP Advisor and Elder from the South Pacific diaspora in Victoria, B.C. made a fact finding mission to Fiji to visit potential project sites, meet with representatives, officials and potential partners. Based on the need and his experiences in Fiji, Peni suggested that we undertake the rebuilding of Loreto Catholic Primary School in Levuka, Ovalau. The school suffered severe damage to roofs and walls during the cyclone, and a majority of school supplies were destroyed by water damage. The school is owned by the community but administered by the Catholic Church. The school serves four neighbouring villages and nearly 75% of the students have been displaced and or/out of school since the cyclone hit. 

What you need to know:

Loreto school students are continuing to study in makeshift shelters provided by aid organizations. These shelters are uncomfortable and hot, with water pooling on dirt floors and temperatures rising to unbearable levels. Cyclone season is approaching and these shelters will not withstand a significant storm. Unless we act quickly, Loreto school students bear a significant risk of additional trauma and interruptions to their education.

Our plan is to administer this project in two phases:

  1. Put roofs back on school buildings as an interim measure;
  2. Work with community partners to design a more resilient Loreto School. As the size and intensity of cyclones continue to increase in the South Pacific, the standard building design is insufficient to withstand future impacts.

How you can help:

  1. Donate to our Pacific Resilience Fund.  Donations made through this page should be categorized as 'Disaster Recovery Assistance Fund'. These funds will go directly to the community to rebuild Loreto school.
  2. Consider if you have the expertise to help PPP redesign Loreto School as an in-kind contribution. We invite relevant professionals to contact the Deputy Director at deputy@pacificpeoplespartnership.org to discuss a potential in-kind contribution.
  3. Consider hosting a speaker in your community, school or workplace to raise awareness. PPP is happy to speak in your community about the impact of climate change on communities in the South Pacific, including Loreto School. For more information, contact our Deputy Director at deputy@pacificpeoplespartnership.org.

Return to the Pacific Resilience Fund main page