From ashes to action

At the WAM groundbreaking ceremony, from left: Mayor Ladie Jack, US Embassy Chargé Lance Posey, Mayo Jack, Australian Embassy Chargé Derek Taylor, Acting President Kitlang Kabua, and WAM board member Hatty Kabua. Photo: US Embassy.

A year ago Waan Aelon in Majel lost its building to a fire. Last week, WAM broke ground for a new building that will be constructed with the help of Majuro Atoll Local Government, the United States and Australian governments, Council of Indigenous People of Taiwan, K&K Island Pride Supermarket, Iroojlaplap Mike Kabua, MISCo and President’s Office.

“It was a heavy loss for all of us. I felt that we lost a piece of our heritage and history,” said Majuro Mayor Ladie Jack in his remarks at the groundbreaking.

WAM broad member Hatty Kabua expressed gratitude on behalf of WAM. She thanked governments, private entities and citizens for lending a hand to help rebuild WAM.

The US government, via the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, provided $110,000 for WAM to build a new training center. Under the Technical Assistance Program, $100,000 was allocated to fund site and ground preparatory work, safety equipment, plywood, lumber, consumables, and construction materials. The remaining $10,000 will be utilized to co-fund the steel structure for the warehouse with the Australian Embassy.

Joining the groundbreaking ceremony was Acting President of the Marshall Islands Kitlang Kabua, US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Lance Posey, Australian Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Derek Taylor, Mayo Jack, WAM Executive Board Member Hatty Kabua, and Director Alson Kelen.

“Over the past decades, WAM has been a grassroots educational pathway for young Marshallese men and women as an alternative vocational program. Today, we gather and witness the re-cultivation of the local culture and practices by rebuilding the foundation,” said Posey. “The United States is proud to support the RMI, our bilateral partners such as Australia, our local partners like MALGov, NGOs, and the Marshallese people to preserve and uphold the Marshallese culture.”

“Today, Majuro Atoll Local government humbly shares with great pride the opportunity and collaboration in rebuilding this training center for our young people,” said Mayor Jack. “We are very fortunate and grateful to our benefactors – our donor partners: Office of Insular Affairs, US Embassy, and Australian Embassy.”

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