Digicel continues classroom drive in New Ireland

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday 29th November 2011

CHILDREN attending the Panamafei Elementary School, located along the West Coast of Kavieng, New Ireland, will benefit from a double elementary classroom courtesy of Digicel Foundation.
Panamafei is one of the three rural schools in the province to be funded with a double elementary classroom infrastructure. The building was launched last Friday in the presence of the school children, parents and the surrounding communities.
Funded by the Digicel Foundation at a cost of K85,000, the steel pre-fabricated double classroom included an office space, VIP toilets and a water tank and will provide classroom space for 40 students at the school.
Panamafei Elementary, a Catholic-church agency-registered elementary school, was established in 1998. The school caters for more than 700 children within the Tikana LLG of Kavieng. It has three bush material classrooms built by the community and each accommodates a single class from elementary prep to elementary two.
The school’s current enrolment of 45 was limited due to restricted classroom space.
With the new Digicel Foundation-funded classroom, enrollment numbers are expected to double next year.
Since the school was established, it has not received any external support apart from the annual education subsidy each year.
Head teacher Solonau Pitalot said: “Digicel Foundation has done so much for New Ireland in general and Panamafei Elementary, in particular, and we are grateful for their investment in our humble school.
“In anticipation of our enrollment numbers next year, we have applied for an additional teacher and are expecting a posting.”
Digicel Foundation CEO Marina van der Vlies said: “The Panamafei community has shown that it is committed to its children receiving basic education by building three bush material classrooms.
“We support and work with communities like Panamafei by providing them with better resources which will help them develop.”
To date, the Digicel Foundation has funded 131 community-based projects covering 20 provinces in PNG and put K8 million back into marginalised PNG communities.
Digicel Foundation would continue to fund community projects in the area of basic education and health aiming to support communities towards achieving self-reliance in the future, van der Vlies said.