Japan-funded buses for Majuro

At the Japan bus handover ceremony students, teachers and administrators from Rairok, LES and DES joined with Japan Embassy officials at DES campus. Photo: Giff Johnson.

Japan Ambassador Norio Saito handed over the keys to three new school buses to Public School System Commissioner Kanchi Hosia last Friday at Delap Elementary School. The school buses are donations funded through Japan’s Grassroots Human Security Grants Program for Laura Elementary School, Rairok Rainbow Elementary School and DES.

Saito highlighted Japan’s contribution to RMI through Grassroots Grants, specifically to the Ministry of Education, Sports and Training, such as the construction and renovation of school facilities and the donation of a total of 20 school buses over the past 25 years since the beginning of the Grassroots Grant Project in 1995.

The value of Friday’s three-bus donation is $245,955.

All three of the schools have been facing difficulties in providing transportation for students residing in distant areas, a problem that the buses will help to solve.

Saito said Japan is “truly happy to have contributed to children’s safe and reliable access to school.” The ambassador reiterated Japan’s commitment to the PALM (Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting) partnership with the RMI and other Pacific islands.

“Education is a necessary tool for your future, like passport,” Saito told the assembled elementary students. “Attend school every day, study hard, and let your dreams come true. Future is all yours.”

Hosia responded with sentiments of appreciation on behalf of the RMI for the continued assistance to the Public School System.

Principals Lanta Elbon, Salazar Bilimon, and David Robert were also present and thanked Ambassador Saito for the generous contribution. Elbon presented Marshallese gifts to Ambassador Saito as a token of appreciation on behalf of the Laura community.

Japan launched the Grassroots Grant Program in 1996, for the purpose of responding to various development needs at the grassroots level involving schools and hospitals as well as local governments and NGOs in the RMI. As of this grant, the Japan Embassy has provided 155 GGPs in the RMI.

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