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Fiji Time: 2:07 AM on Monday 22 September

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$0.6m help

Felix Chaudhary
Sunday, January 20, 2013

SCHOOL students from 25 cyclone-affected education institutions in the country will have all of their uniform, stationery and food needs met by AusAID. Funding through the Australian aid organisation's Access to Quality Education Program (AQEP) to the tune of $601,950 will address the basic needs for 3502 school students from the cyclone affected Northern and Western divisions.

"This will greatly ease the burden on parents, many of whom are struggling to put food on their tables due to the fact that their homes, plantations and employment have been affected. Students will receive uniforms, school bags, footwear and proper lunches while at school with these funds. We would like to acknowledge the assistance from AQEP and thank the Australian government for responding in our time of need," said divisional planning officer west Luke Moroivalu.

Under the AQEP Social Protection Grant, five schools in Lautoka, one in Nadi and two in Ra will receive funding assistance in the Western Division. For the Maritime Zone, 11 schools will receive aid in the Yasawa Group and six schools in Bua will benefit from the Northern Division.

According to AQEP, the total estimated costs for the Social Protection Grant is expected to be at $553,450 and the total training, monitoring and mentoring program has been tentatively pegged at $48,500.

Tropical Cyclone Evan damaged a total of 209 schools in the country when the Category 4 storm hit the Western and Northern divisions in December last year racking up a total damage bill of close to $5 million in the process, to education alone.

Apart from the assistance being provided to the 25-cyclone affected schools, AQEP has also committed to assisting an estimated 43,000 school children in the country in a five-year program which ends in 2016. Under the program, AQEP aims to provide grants to improve school buildings, facilities and learning environments for 180 of the most disadvantaged primary schools in the country.

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