Kapalpal Christadelphian Primary School Project -- Loanialu, Tanna (Vanuatu)
Saturday, 3 October 2009
In February 2009, following an impressive kastom-style dedication ceremony organised by the chiefs of the local villages and attended by some 200 village members, the Kapalpal school was officially opened. We had originally expected around 70 students, including kindy children. However in the first week, we were inundated by more than 200 students.
Some of the students come from a nearby Cargo Cult village. The people from these villages do not normally send their children to school, so this has been a very gratifying break from tradition. It meant, though, that these children had no educational background. They had never sat in a classroom or held a pencil so a special class had to be established to cater for their needs. We also had to employ another teacher bringing the number of teachers up to 6 including ourTeacher in Charge.
The building serves not only as a school building. It was designed with multiple purposes in mind, and it is also proving to be very useful as a hall for the local Christadelphians and has also been used on several occasions for seminars and gospel preaching efforts. The local villages have also used it as a community hall.
In 2010 we hope to extend our current school library to include books that are relevant for adults.
Over the course of the school year, the number of students has settled to around 160. This is far too many for the building which was designed for 70 students. The noise level and the sheer number of bodies make it difficult to teach.
As a result of this, Bethezer has begun to plan the construction of a second building. This building will be slightly smaller than the first and will divide into 3 separate rooms. At present an engineer has our proposed building design and is checking it for suitability to the conditions on Tanna.
Learning from the lessons of putting up the first building, the second time around we intend to source all materials except for local timber from Australia. Our initial estimate for the all-inclusive cost of the building is AU$40,000. We have raised a little over half that amount but require the full amount before putting together a schedule. This most likely means we will not have the second building up in time for the start of the 2010 school year, which means the current issues and pressures associated with noise and lack of space will continue.