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By Malia Sio

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Oct. 5) – The dreams of the residents of Faleula – a village on the Samoan island of Upolu, materialized yesterday morning with the opening of a new 12-room primary school.

The project was made possible through support from the Grassroots Human Security Grant Aid Program administered by the Japanese Embassy in Wellington.

School committee chairman Solamalemalo Keneti Sio thanked the Japanese Government and others who assisted. He said that the old men of the village have been dreaming of this for 14 years.

He said that the school has a roll of 380, which was increasing with three-quarters of the children of Aele attending along with children from Nu’u and Vaitele-fou.

The project was estimated to cost more than $300,000, with $228,347 provided by Japan and the rest by the committee and people, including support from businesses.

Representing the Japanese Government at the opening were Jun Sasaki, of the Wellington embassy, and Hisahara Okuda, of JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency).

Sasaki, in handing over the completed project, noted that the Samoan Government’s efforts in improving education throughout the country were evident.

Two more Japanese-supported primary school projects, in Lalomanu and Fagafao-Samautau-tai, are also due to be handed over.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi gave the keynote address, urging the villagers and students to make the most of this project.

Tuilaepa said that this gives the children of Faleula a chance to have the same access to education as children in other parts of Samoa.

Minister of Education Fiame Naomi Mata’afa officially opened the school with the cutting of the ribbon.

October 6, 2004

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