Dear Mrs. Smith,
I am the parent of one of the children at Nasavusavu Kindy which you manage. We are new to Fiji and signed our daughter up for one session of the Kindy for $52 FJD. I noticed right away that there are several repair projects that need to be addressed immediately at the Kindy, so I decided to talk with people we knew at the Rotary Club about possibly funding these.
The Rotary Club cannot fund the repairs due to the Kindy’s affiliation with the Anglican Church. It is part of their rules that they cannot fund church organizations since churches already have fundraising capacity themselves. They then told me that the costs per session that we’re paying are astronomical considering what the other Kindy’s charge.
The members of the Rotary also recommended that I contact the Ministry of Health because the repairs that need to be done just to make it a safe environment for the children were quite extensive and very serious in nature. I did not want to see the Kindy shut down, which is probably what would happen if we filed a formal complaint with the Ministry of Health, so I decide to talk to a few of the other parents about trying to attempt to do some fundraising instead.
Then, I heard rumors from other parents that the teacher and her assistant at Nasavusavu are paid very poorly and that because of the high fees there should be more than enough money to get everything either repaired or replaced and an appropriate salary paid to the teachers. Is this true? I have heard that they are only paid $160 a month and $60 a month for their work and have to pay for their own bus rides to school as well. If true, this is completely unacceptable. They can’t even buy food on that kind of pay.
Mrs. Deo has a teaching degree, does she not? She’s wonderful with the children, as is Miss Sissy. According to the Ministry of Labour, Mrs. Deo, as the teacher, should be making at least $5.00 FJD per hour and Miss Sissy, as helper, should be getting about $3.50 and it would be only fair to have their bus fares paid for as well since they’ve been paying for them until now. It is hard to find teachers as dedicated as they are and they should be paid accordingly, especially considering the class size is now up to 62 children, quite large to say the least.
The Ministry of Labour also informed me that it is the teacher’s responsibility to negotiate their own contract. Regardless, this is obviously a situation where they are both being taken advantage of since according to the Ministry of Labour a truck driver makes $3.19 per hour with no degree or practical experience. Also, taking care of children properly is certainly more demanding in every way and requires more skills than driving a truck, so Miss Sissy should be making more than a truck driver. Frankly, it’s an abomination.
Because there are now 62 children in attendance at $52 each per session, with 3 sessions per year, you should have more than enough money, (62 x $52 x 3 = $9672 per year), even after the salary increases, to do the repairs and take a reasonable salary yourselves. Considering the enormous discrepancy between what is paid in salaries, the extreme disrepair at the Kindy and the high fees, I, and other parents, would like to see a full accounting of the monies brought into the Nasavusavu Kindy for years 2009, 2010 and 2011, all other funding it receives, expenditures and a full explanation of how the lack of attention to the Kindy has transpired, before we would ever consider doing any fundraising.
If you are not willing to comply with this request it will be a foregone conclusion that these funds are being taken inappropriately and a criminal investigation shall ensue. It would not be any trouble for the parents to form a non-profit management company and take over your duties.
Otherwise, we will not be willing to do any fundraising and will be forced to call on the Ministry of Health and demand a full inspection immediately. I have already spoken with the Health Inspector and Ministry of Labour and will be CC’ing them both a copy of this letter. The Health Inspector is willing to work with the Kindy to keep it open but does expect all of these issues to be properly remedied.
The following are things, (with a **), I am quite sure will probably cause the Kindy to be shut down if not addressed immediately. We aren’t trying to stir up trouble, but should my daughter, or any of the other students get injured due to these repairs not being made a priority, then we would never be able to forgive ourselves for not saying something and making a proper effort to correct the situation.
The parents of Nasavusavu school would like to schedule a meeting with you immediately. The following are the most pressing repairs and purchases that need to be remedied:
- **Gate (Need a new one as the present one is ready to fall completely apart)
- **Fencing (Needs to be completely redone as barbed wire is at children’s eye level and it’s missing altogether in some areas)
- **Walkways to prevent slipping in mud
- **Water channels to allow for proper drainage from street and also between buildings and in the back near the bay (It is causing standing water which breeds mosquitos uncontrollably)
- **Seesaw (Needs a new one as it is presently a hazard)
- **Slide (Needs repairing- sharp edges)
- Standing swings (Need to be re-roped and if new sitting style swings were available that would be great)
- Sandbox (wood for sides, sand for box and cover to prevent animals from using as a litter box)
- **Climbing structure (needs to be redone to make it more usable and safe for children)
- **Wasp nests removed from building both inside and out
- **Gutters fixed and cleaned out
- **Overhang fixed (will help prevent flooding and standing water issues)
- **Mesh to cover rain channel in yard so no one trips or falls into it.
- **Fencing around the ditch in waiting area outside of gate (so that children do not fall in. May have to coordinate with church next door)
- Sunshade for over play area (Would help to diminish extreme sun exposure for both the children and the structures)
- **Emergency Kit
- **Fire extinguisher
- **Proper screens on windows
- **Screen doors
- Shelves for books (there are none at present)
- **New back door
- **Sink bench repairs
- **Shower repaired
- Counters repaired/resurfaced
- Drawers constructed
- Ceiling fans replaced
- **Ceiling finished (the roof is showing through in several spots)
- Children’s tables and benches repainted
- New mat for children to sit on
- Blackboard Paint (to paint on walls so that children can do artwork and practice lessons on the walls without using excessive paper)
- Large white board /blackboard or other suitable surface for instruction of that number of children
- More up to date educational teaching materials and games
I and some of the other parents would like to meet with you regarding the situation. We need to go over the budget as well as determine how this Kindy could have gotten into such a state.
PLEASE SIGN TO SUPPORT OUR LETTER REQUESTING REVIEW OF ACCOUNTING PRACTICES, DEMANDING REPAIRS/REPLACEMENT OF UNSAFE ISSUES AND PAY RAISE FOR TEACHER AND ASSISTANT.
31 Parents signed the PETITION.