DEAR EDITOR, after heavy rain today in Honiara, the Red Cross Special Disability Centre (RCSDC) is once again flooded and classes suspended till the water subsides and the class rooms can be cleaned.
The RCSDC is currently the only school in the Solomon Islands catering to the needs of some 74 children with a range of physical and intellectual disabilities. The staff is dedicated to improving the children’s lives in the future and helping them to gain an education and some independence in life.
Every time it rains, as it did today, spare a thought for those children and the dedicated staff. The school and classrooms are always flooded with water and mud. The children then sent home. The staff and some volunteers thereafter spend their time sweeping, mopping and cleaning instead of working with the children. Many of the resources are already spoiled and unusable. Last term this school was closed for a 1/3 of the term due to water intrusion.
From my understanding of the situation, albeit from a distance, the rainwater flows down an incline and floods the centre’s premises because there is no proper drainage on site.
I have been in touch with the General-Secretary of the Solomon Islands Red Cross Society by email and he has confirmed to me the situation, as I have outlined, has existed for a considerable period but no help has been forthcoming from any quarter, privately, or from the Solomon Islands Government to assess the situation on the ground and to fix the problem with a permanent solution.
The Red Cross owns the buildings but the teachers come from the Ministry of Education. I believe there is one or more overseas volunteer staff aiding the curriculum development of the children.
At my urging the General-Secretary has promised to get a site survey done and to let me know how the situation can be resolved with possibly the construction of a buffer wall and effective drains, but I have heard nothing as yet.
It will be important to get an idea of the costs of such work quite soon but will then need to try and get local donor support to get the ground work undertaken and completed before further rain causes more damage and set-backs to the education programme.
I fear that unless some help is forthcoming soon the situation at the school will become so bad the place could be closed down on health and safety grounds and the children lose out entirely on their right to an education.
Will anyone, or any organization in the Solomon Islands, kindly consider helping to prevent the water intrusion at the RCSDC and aid the children there to get the kind of support and education they sure deserve?
I will be pleased to help coordinate any assistance that might be forthcoming.
I have attached a photograph showing the extent of today’s flooding at the centre.
Please will you help?