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Sekere School


 


Japan provides grant for multi-purpose community center

By Bill Jaynes The Kaselehlie Press February 25, 2015 Pohnpei, FSM—
Big things have been happening in Sekere, Pohnpei during the last few weeks. This morning's ceremony was a portent of even bigger things to come for the sometimes maligned community. During that ceremony, the Ambassador of Japan to the FSM, His Excellency Masaki Sakai signed over a grant of $194,628 to the Department of Education of Pohnpei on behalf of the Sekere Community Youth Association in order to build a new multipurpose community center on the property of Sekere Elementary School. On any given afternoon motorists driving by Sekere Elementary School can see hoards of young people on the concrete slab there playing volleyball, shooting the one remaining hoop, or just hanging out, rain or shine. Sure enough, rain brought this afternoon's ceremony to an unceremonious close as students and other participants scrambled for shelter.

Ambassador Sakai was heard to say, "This shows why the center is needed." According to Pohnpei wisdom, rain brings a blessing of better things to come. Sekere is long overdue for that kind of blessing. Recently the Sekere Community Youth Association (SCYA) received a grant from what they called "Global Greengrant Funds". SYCA President, Nixon Ludwig said that Willy Kostka of the Micronesia Conservation Trust helped them to get the grant. The $5000 they received has helped them to begin to implement a calendar of community wide cleanup campaigns.

On February 14, members of the community began a river cleanup campaign. Many members of the community, including Lepen Sekere Senator Rensper Liwy and his family participated in that cleanup which will recommence on Saturday, February 28. On February 21 members met at the Sekere Elementary School playground. After a short ceremony, approximately 100 members of the community hit the streets for a roadside cleanup campaign. The idea for the multi-purpose community center is not a new one. When the SCYA held a ceremony in 2012 to celebrate their establishment, organizers then told the Kaselehlie Press that they had dreams of a community center/gym where people in the community could safely come together. That dream will soon be a reality. An SCYA spokesperson said that the group approached the Japanese Embassy about the possibility of a grant for the project under Japan's grassroots program. He said that SCYA was encouraged by the Ambassador's interest in the idea. SCYA said that shortly thereafter, Ambassador Sakai contacted Governor Ehsa to see if Japan and Pohnpei could work together on a government to government arrangement in order to provide the facility.

During his speech today, Governor Ehsa said that Shirly Ligohr was tasked to fill out the applications for the grants for Sekere and a similar project for Nett Elementary, which were submitted on September 23 of last year. On December 16 the Governor sent a letter to the Ambassador re-affirming the government's commitment to shoulder any costs for the projects in excess of the grant. He said that on February 18 he received official confirmation from the Embassy of Japan of Japan's approval of the grant for the Sekere School multipurpose building. The SCYA spokesperson said that Elmer Cuasay drew up plans for the building that were included in the application package. The plans include a stage, locker rooms, a gymnasium floor and a scoreboard, amongst other amenities. SCYA said that the cost of bleachers was prohibitive and so were trimmed from the plan. It seems that with the elimination of the bleachers, the Japanese Government's funding should be able to cover the total cost of the new facility without any further funding requirements. David Syne is the Chair of the SCYA board. Loriano Martin is the Vice Chair. Members are Midaro Simina and Hinden Alexander.

Advisors are Lepen Sekere Senator Rensper Liwy, and Wehns Billens. The President of SCYA is Nixon Ludwig. Vice President is Perez Amaraich. The Treasurer is Anthony Eliam and the Secretary is Jessica Habuchmai. Shirley Ligohr said that Pohnpei State is expecting to put the project out for bids very soon. Work on the project should be underway within a matter of weeks. Governor Ehsa said that the project is a collaboration of the Sekere Youth Community Association, the Pohnpei Department of Education, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Department of Finance. The community center was the brain child of the people of Sekere who are all rallied behind it. "We couldn't be more thankful to the Government of Japan," said SCYA President Ludwig. The fact that the grant went to Pohnpei's Department of Education didn't bother him at all. "It's better this way," he said with a smile.





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