‘Children stay home, help fetch water’

Somolevu Catholic School students at a dry tap at the school. Picture REPEKA NASIKO

SOME students of Somolevu Catholic School are staying away from school because of the shortage of water currently faced on the island of Nacula in Yasawa.

Headteacher Ricky Lesi said the school had recorded a decrease in attendance.

“Our students come mainly from Matacawalevu and Vuaki villages.

The Vuaki students are the worst affected because they have to help their parents cart water every morning for their daily needs,” he said.

“Water is a necessity.

“Because they have to travel quite far to the nearest water source, some of them spend the day getting water.

“That’s why we’ve noticed a decrease in our students’ attendance.”

A team from this newspaper travelled to the school yesterday in Vuaki and witnessed students using seawater to brush their teeth. Nacula district spokesman Saimone Naivalu said the school along with Vuaki Village had been experiencing water problems for years.

“It’s a problem that needs to be addressed,” he said.

“For many years now the students at Somolevu Catholic School have had to use water from tanks and when that dries out, they use borrowed water.

“There is a water source near Matacawalevu Village which could be used by the school but it is a challenge for the school management to set up a permanent water supply for them.

“I think if they can get assistance from Government, they should be able to have something permanent for the school.

“At the end of the day, we don’t want students missing classes because they don’t have water in their homes.”