Present at the ceremony held at the conference room of St. George Government Building were Hon. Dr. Pohiva Tuionetoa, Minister of Finance and National Planning, Hon. Penisimani Fifita, Minister of Education and Training, Hon. Poasi Tei, Minister of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Communications and Climate Change and Fr. Mafi of the Catholic Church along with representatives of the project recipients from Hofoa Government Primary School, Takuilau College, St. Francis of Assisi Primary School and Kolonga village water committee.
H.E Mr. Tetsuya Ishii in his key note address first conveyed his sympathy to all that had been affected by Cyclone Gita last month, and emphasized that education and safe water are priority areas for a community and a nation’s growth. “The Government and the people of Japan believe in the unlimited possibilities that education will bring. Indeed till today, over 50% of the GGP projects that have been implemented are in the education sector, and in the aftermath of cyclone Gita, we are committed to the continuation of our assistance not only to rebuild the learning environment, but also to help improve the resilience of schools with disaster preparedness infrastructures,” stated His Excellency.
His Excellency also emphasized, recalling his own experience of having no access to water for a while after the cyclone, that, “24 hour access to water is the basis for a safe and healthy life, and we look forward to assisting and strengthening the Tongan communities by upgrading your water supply systems.”
Mr. Sitani Paulo Mahe, Principal of Takuilau College extended on behalf of the project recipients their heartfelt appreciation for the generous assistance from the people and the Government of Japan. New classroom buildings will be constructed each for Hofoa GPS, St. Francis Primary School, and the Technical and Vocational facility for Takuilau College, while the Kolonga village water supply system will be upgraded. Over 400 students currently enrolled in the schools, and 1,168 people living at Kolonga village will benefit from Japan’s assistance.
The assistance epitomized Japan’s commitment to support efforts by the people and the Government of Tonga to ensure Human Security and continue to enrich the existing warm and close relations between the people and the Government of Japan and the people of the Kingdom of Tonga.