It was a day of celebration for the hundreds of children, parents and teachers of the community as they lined up with jubilant songs to welcome the delegation that flew from Luanda to witness the inauguration ceremony.
After the raise of the Angolan flag Helder Silva, BP Angola Head of Country, Hermenegildo Manuel, Block 31 representative of the National Petroleum Agency (ANPG) and Armando Vieira, Lubango Municipal Administrator, jointly cut the ribbon and unveiled the plaque that officially opened the school and toured the school. This was followed by a landmark activity where the delegation embarked on a tree planting exercise.
Speaking at the ceremony, Helder Silva said: “This new school brings lots of benefits to the children of this community and those in proximity as they will now study in dignity paving the way to a happier and brighter future. A new phase starts in the lives of the children as well as for the teachers who can now work at the best of their abilities in the noble mission to help educate and help build the future generations of this province and ultimately of the country’’. A thank you and touching message on behalf of the children was conveyed by the little Pedro who said: ‘’We will no longer be bullied by children of other schools who constantly mocked us for studying under mango trees”.
On behalf of the ANGP, Hermenegildo said that ‘’we request everyone to look after this school for today, tomorrow and forever as it contributes to the future of our children today, tomorrow and forever and each one of us should do our part to ensure a better tomorrow’’.
Armando Vieira, municipal administrator said: ‘’The opening of this school is a result of the combined efforts from all partners which brings comfort and better conditions for the children. Let’s ensure that this initiative, aligned with the government’s development plan, is translated into a better quality of the teaching and learning process”.
The school replaces an original one of 5 classrooms built of mud bricks in 1999 which was not enough to accommodate the demand. This lack of classroom space for the growing number of students meant majority of children had to attend lessons anywhere they could find a shade. The interim solution saw children studying under trees located opposite the previous mud bricks school.
The total cost of the project was of US$580 thousand Dollars, built in 12 months and it was implemented by the NGO RISE Angola. In addition to the classrooms, the school includes other amenities, such as a library, teacher’s offices, toilets and admin offices.
Maria Tchipalavela, a mother of 1 child who now benefits from the school said: ’’I am very thankful for this initiative because our children used to study under trees and because of the rainfall as mother I was always very worried with their safety whenever they came to classes under such conditions.’’
BP has been a committed partner to Angola having invested more than 100 million Dollars in social projects in the areas of education, enterprise development, health and environment.