Malaita Province's Kilusakwalo Christian Community High School began school this year to three brightly painted and newly carpeted classrooms and a newly converted classroom, thanks to the hard work of the teachers and an Australian Volunteer.
Over the holidays, a Year 5 teacher, James Lagwai, worked tirelessly to convert a storeroom into an additional classroom and paint two junior classrooms. James was willing to take on this task and to help the overall development of his school, even though he is an upper primary teacher. When asked about this he said; “Do unto others before thyself”. His attitude reflects the strong and committed attitude of Kilusakwalo community.
To complete the renovation of their classrooms, two teachers; Helen Saelea and Janet Mado, worked hard every afternoon with the help of young people from the community, by painting, building bookshelves and laying carpet. The smiles on the faces of students when they entered their ‘new’ classrooms were a reward for all the hard work.
Work has not stopped. There are three more junior classrooms to renovate. Last week, mothers of Grade 1 students started work scrubbing and scraping the ceiling and walls of the next classroom. This shows their commitment to work together to support their children and take ownership of their school.
Jane Sheils, an Australian volunteer funded by the Australian Government’s international development agency, AusAID, has been working with Kilusakwalo Christian Community High School since May 2012.
Jane has helped organise private donations to this project through her networks in Australia, and initiated the project by renovating the first classroom as a ‘model’ with the help of teacher Beverlyn Kini.
Jane said her role is to help build capacity in others and to develop sustainability within a project.
“My satisfaction with this project comes from seeing the work I did with one teacher and one classroom develop into a project that is owned and directed by the staff and the community of Kilusakwalo. It is their commitment and drive that will see the goal of ‘child friendly’ classrooms achieved,” said Jane.
As a teacher educator, Jane is working closely with the primary school staff to develop their teaching skills, particularly in literacy.
“The dedicated team of teachers meet weekly for teacher development sessions and take every opportunity to put these sessions into practice in their classrooms,” said Jane.
Under the strong leadership of Head Teacher, Billy Dau and Deputy, Jude Rongomea, this steadfast staff is unswerving in their commitment to achieve the school vision:
"to provide the best education (spiritual, physical, social and academic) for every child to get the knowledge, skills and attitudes to live an active, useful life and contribute to build our Holy nation. We want our students to be well behaved and disciplined with respect for their school and everyone within. We want our community to work together to support their children and take ownership of their school. We expect our staff to be qualified teachers and committed Christians, who work hard and have a good working relationship with the students, the community and the school administration. We expect our school administration and school management to be transparent, accountable and active so that Kilusakwalo Christian Community High School can be a model school in the Solomon Islands."
Source: Press Release, AusAID, Solomon Islands