The country will in two years’ time mark its 50th Independence Anniversary, but the people in the rural areas continue to experience a lack of development and services provided to them; however, that has not deterred them from doing what they can to help themselves.
The local people always have this spirit of never giving up and they demonstrate this spirit through resilience, and one good example of such is the Simbai people from isolated Madang bordering Chimbu and Western Highlands Provinces.
They walk for hours, night and day, through bad weather conditions, climbing mountains and crossing fast flowing rivers to access basic services.
Bapaimb Primary School headmaster Mr. Thompson Awunt who is also a local from Tickrau village in Simbai Local Level Government (LLG) area said inaccessibility of basic services has remained an un- addressed issue for decades.
Over the years students have had to walk for five hours to attend classes at Kumbruf, Kongrau and Kombaku Primary schools.
Kumbruf and Kongrau Primary schools are situated at Middle Ramu District and Kombaku Primary School is located in Usino Bundi district.
“Communities have experienced these difficult challenges over the years and had enough of walking long distances looking for health care and education services,” said Mr. Awunt.
“In 2019 communities from ward seven in Gama LLG in Usino Bundi district and ward 17 of Simbai LLG in Middle Ramu District brainstormed and resolved an idea to establish a school at the boarders of the two areas.”
“The Madang Provincial education department gave us a green light and supported us to establish the school.”
“The school was built using mostly bush materials and was launched in 2021. Classrooms were built to cater grades three up to five only with streamline classes,” he added.
He said they had 317 students’ population when the school first commenced in 2021.
Last year the number went up to 327 students.
This year with the continuous support from communities, six more classrooms were built, and they took on grades six and seven enrolments.
This has now increased the students’ population to 638.
“As you can see though the school is a newly established school, the number of students has increased within a short span of time placing the school as level four school.”
“We are preparing to pass out our first grade eight next year.”
“The student population is showing the real cry children have for education right at their steps.”
“Children from these two ward areas can now access education service at the communities without walking for distances,” Awunt said.