In partnership with Aspire Network Fiji (a local non-government organisation) our team has completed work on the SMEC-Aspire Vunimanuca Learning Centre, a classroom ravaged by tropical cyclone Yasa in December 2020 that has been redesigned and is now equipped with modern learning tools.

The SMEC-Aspire Vunimanuca Learning Centre is part of the Vunimanuca Primary, a small rural community school of around 70 students situated in Vanua Levu, the northern part of Fiji. Wreaking havoc over 13 days, the Category 5 cyclone’s 240-kilometre per hour-strong winds and heavy rain saw classrooms lose their roofs and walls. Furthermore, learning materials and furniture were all but destroyed leaving students to continue education in tents with very limited resources.

To support the education of children in rural areas of Fiji, SMEC made a financial donation to assist Aspire Network in renovating the classroom and transforming it into a modern learning centre. Together with the local community, we worked to fortify the classroom walls and redesign its interior, complete with an art space and a library.

“We were so lucky to have a sponsor like SMEC who shares our passion for serving the community and the boldness to experiment in new ideas,” says Karishma Kaajal Kumar, Aspire Network Fiji Founder and Chairperson. “It is very rare to come across a donor who understands the challenges faced by non-government organisations, and who is willing to invest in building the people that work in NGOs, and not just the project alone.”

SMEC’s operations in Fiji began in 1977 with the Yalavou Rural Development Project. Since then, we have expanded our expertise across electrification initiatives, technical auditing of road projects, tourism planning, and maintenance management training. Our recent projects range from the Rewa River Water Supply Scheme to the Kings Road reconstruction (Wailotua to Ba) and the second phase of the Suva Arterial Road Upgrade. We also specialise in cyclone assessments which prompted us to support Vunimanica Primary’s recovery from the Yasa disaster.

“SMEC is very happy to partner with an NGO like Aspire Network who truly understands the needs of Fijian children,” says Wim Frencken, SMEC Country Manager Fiji and Transport Manager Pacific. “We hope this learning centre will inspire the children and trigger their curiosity about what is out there.”