More than 200 desks, chairs and other school furniture pieces donated to the Ministry of Education on Friday will be distributed to 16 schools affected by Tropical Cyclone Ana in the Northern Division. 

The furniture pieces were donated by the charitable arm of Punjas & Sons Pte Ltd – the Punjas Charitable Trust – to the Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, Hon. Rosy Akbar.

This was shipped across to Fiji with the assistance of Swire Shipping Limited. Hon. Akbar said the donation was timely, noting that one of the needs in cyclone-stricken schools in the North were furniture pieces. “With 16 schools affected by TC Ana in the North, we need more than 500 furniture.

We do not want children to report to school and be disappointed that there are no furniture so this donation could not have come at a much better time,” Hon. Akbar said. In addition to the furniture pieces donated by the Trust, the Ministry will procure another 250. 

Punjas & Sons Pte Ltd’s Manager Operations Mr Nandu Naidu said they were thankful to two schools in Auckland, New Zealand who donated the furniture pieces to the Trust who then shipped the items to Suva. “We were sending some donations to Fiji and this time, we thought, why not donate some furniture so we got in touch with these schools,” Mr Naidu said. 

The Trust had also previously donated towards Government’s relief efforts post TC Harold last year. Speaking during the handover ceremony in Suva, Director National Disaster Management Office Ms. Vasiti Soko said the donation would greatly address the needs gathered from schools on the ground.

 “We will ensure to work within the timelines of the Ministry of Education so that children in affected communities in the North are able to resume classes on Monday,” Ms Soko said. The furniture pieces were shipped to the North earlier today in time for the resumption of school in the Division

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