2014 floods

St Joseph's Secondary School

Project Location: Solomon Islands

This project was established to strengthen the Catholic Education system in Solomon Islands by enhancing the teaching and learning environment at St Joseph’s Secondary School.

In 2014, a flood hit the Solomon Islands and some staff at the school lost their houses. The aim was to build two additional staff houses in the school complex, in turn providing staff with a sustainable future to ensure the school is able to provide the best support available for all students that attend St Joseph’s.

This project has been successfully implemented and is now complete. A breakdown of project achievements include:

  • The first staff house was completed in July 2018.
  • Funds were disbursed to AMS for the second house on 18 July 2018 .
  • There were delays in February and March 2019 due to the wet season as builders were unable to work for many days at a time.
  • All items were purchased, and second building was completed by April 10 2019. The finishing touches were then made to the second house, including painting, sanding the floor and guttering.
  • The new occupants moved in during May 2019.

Renovation

Occupants of the Houses

The first house was planned to be occupied by the Deputy Principal and his wife and five children. However, when the school Board of Management approached the Deputy, he suggested it should be used by a teacher.

The decision was made to offer the house to the longest serving teacher on staff – Mrs Theresa Hou - who has been a teacher at St Joseph’s for over 20 years. She now stays in the house with her husband, their eight-year-old daughter, their adult son, and their 10-year-old niece.

The second house will be occupied by the Principal, Abraham Hihiru. This decision was again made by the schools Board of Management because the house is closest to the boy’s dormitory which is an area of responsibility for the Principal. Abraham lives in this house with his wife, their two children and their two nephews, who all attend St Joseph’s.

Additionally, the bottom of the house was built-in to accommodate visitors (see ‘Changes to the Design Plans’ section below).

Changes to the Design Plans

Due to cost savings in the local contribution from the first house, the Board of Management decided to use this saved money to build a larger second house. As a result, the upstairs of the house now has a larger living room area which will be utilised by the family but also by the principal for meetings with staff, visitors, government officials and other stakeholders.

In addition, the bottom of the house was built-in to serve as a short-term accommodation for visitors to the schools such as parents who travel from rural areas. This built in bottom area consists of two rooms plus a toilet and shower. Other facilities that host these visitors are always booked so it is essential to build school and community spirit by offering this service. The bottom of the house is concrete to be more resilient to future flooding events. The extra space in this larger house will also facilitate teacher get-together activities and community prayer.

Housing

Conclusion

Overall the project has been a success at St Joseph’s. Providing a sense of security for staff means that St Joseph’s can continue to focus on helping the younger generation of the local community achieve their goals through means of better education.