Friday, 16 April 2010
Back to School
'12 January' it said in white chalk. In the right hand top corner a small matrix showed the roll call: 2 absent boys and 43 present boys and girls. "I wonder how many of them will return to this school - if ever - and when?" I thought to myself. That answer came Monday when the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School in Santo reopened.
Following the earthquake and the massive destruction of education facilities, classes were suspended on a national level and the SOS school was used as storage facility and office for the emergency relief programme of SOS Children's Villages.
When I saw the two lines of students filing up in the courtyard shortly before 7am I felt we were passing an important milestone on the road to recovery. School is back in. Life is starting again and is hopefully going to give children and parents a feeling of normality and security.
"Education is an obligation and a chance you get - so take it and work hard," he advised.
"Class 9 is now in this room, class 6 in that one," he then said and pointed to the very room where I had seen the date of the earthquake on the blackboard. I followed the students inside and was pleased to see the change in date. But I was even more pleased when I saw the roll call with the headcount: no absentees.