PAYCE Foundation Director Dominic Sullivan said there were lots of smiling faces and expressions of joy when Naitavuni Catholic Primary School students and staff recently returned to their rebuilt school in Fiji after a two year absence following the worst tropical cyclone ever recorded in the southern hemisphere.

Category 5 Cyclone Devastates School – Dominic Sullivan

"When category 5 Cyclone Winston hit Fiji in 2016 with winds of up to 300 kilometres per hour it devastated many of the country's smallest communities and levelled the Catholic school in Naitavuni, 58 kilometres north of Suva," Mr. Sullivan said.

"The 82 students were left with no permanent accommodation and up until recently were being taught in makeshift classrooms that were unsuitable and not conducive to a good learning environment. Classes were frequently interrupted by extreme weather events."

Mr Sullivan said that with so much widespread damage throughout the region, building materials and resources were in short supply and the school sought assistance for permanent accommodation through the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Suva.

"In Australia, Monsignor Brian Rayner, parish priest of St Catherine Laboure Church in the southern Sydney suburb of Gymea learnt of the school's plight through his long time association with Fiji and its communities.

New School Buildings have the Ability to Withstand the Harshest Weather Conditions – Dominic Sullivan

"Following our offer of help to Monsignor Rayner, through the PAYCE Foundation, work commenced on planning the re-building of the school facilities," Dominic Sullivan reported.

"We went to Fiji with a project team to meet with school authorities to map out a construction program for the new buildings that would result in improved learning opportunities, as well as their ability to withstand the harshest weather conditions in the future."

Mr Sullivan said community groups and representatives were consulted so that a comprehensive understanding of the community's needs could be achieved.

"The $350,000 project included new four classrooms destroyed by the cyclone and a fifth multi-purpose room for use as a library and/or computer lab," he said.

"Our project managers were not only able to assist with planning and construction on the ground, but with new technology were able monitor the progress from Sydney.

"It really was a great team effort and a great result for not only the children but the broader community."

Dominic Sullivan recently returned to the school for its official opening and said it was a pleasure to join the children, parents and school staff for the celebrations.

"It was wonderful to see all the smiling faces and the school community finally able to put the cyclone event behind them.

"It has been a very rewarding project for everyone involved and a special thank you goes to Monsignor Brian Rayner for his role in bringing this project to fruition," Mr Sullivan said.

"The PAYCE Foundation continues to support local communities in Fiji with an annual funding of $35,000 to the Gymea parish to meet shipping costs of much needed goods for distribution to families, schools and hospitals in the area.

"Donated items have been packed into containers and shipped to the Catholic Archdiocese and local Orders in Suva on a regular basis since 2005," Dominic Sullivan concluded.

About PAYCE/PAYCE Foundation

PAYCE is a leading property development and investment company founded in 1978. The company has a proven track record in setting new international benchmarks with its landmark integrated, lifestyle developments.

PAYCE has also won a reputation for not just delivering exceptional, intelligently designed contemporary homes, but also in creating dynamic and cohesive communities.

The PAYCE Foundation was founded in 2016 to build on the long philanthropic tradition of PAYCE. The Foundation's vision is for a world in which disadvantage and misfortune do not limit anyone's potential and are not determinants of quality of life. The PAYCE Foundation aims to be a best practice example of engaged and strategic philanthropy.


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