Tropical Cyclone Winston – the most powerful storm ever recorded in the southern hemisphere - has left a trail of devastation over large areas of Fiji and destroyed or damaged 229 schools. Thousands of Fijian students have resumed classes since the cyclone struck on February 20, 2016, but are currently being taught in temporary shelters or tents. To a greater or lesser extent, they are all grappling with the psychological trauma of surviving winds in excess of 300 kilometres an hour, losing family members and friends and losing their homes and possessions.

The experts say the best way for Fijian children to put the trauma of Cyclone Winston behind them is to return to permanent classrooms as soon as possible. So the Fijian Government has made it a top priority to get our children back into proper facilities to resume their studies. Unfortunately, it is beyond the Government’s capacity to rebuild them as quickly as we must for the sake of our children. So we are seeking the assistance of foreign governments, multilateral organisations, donor organisations, companies, community groups, sporting bodies and individuals to adopt individual schools and spearhead the rebuilding process.

This is an opportunity to make a deeply satisfying and enriching contribution to the welfare of Fijian children and their communities. To form an ongoing connection with a particular school, help get it back on its feet and share the joy of our young people and their families as they resume the learning process in proper facilities. As they put Winston behind them and work again to achieve their dreams.


The Fiji Institute of Engineers – working closely with the Department of National Planning within the Ministry of Finance – has sent 70 structural assessors in 22 teams to identify the precise requirements of those schools that need assistance. Detailed individual reports are being compiled on each school and a dollar value placed on their needs. Some have been destroyed and will have to be completely rebuilt. Some have been badly damaged and require extensive repairs. In others, classes have resumed but there is still damage to infrastructure and facilities. Working with our planners, you can choose from a master list which school you are best able to assist. You have the option to finance the repair or rebuilding of an entire school or individual structures within these schools. You can also choose whether to finance the intermediate phase of the reconstruction process (to get schools serviceable again) or the long-term phase in which schools will be rebuilt to the required standard to withstand future cyclones.  


You may be a foreign government, a multilateral organisation, a donor organisation or a corporation with the ability to undertake major rebuilding or repairs. You may be a community or sporting group that can band together to tackle a smaller project or raise funds for the reconstruction effort. You may be an individual or a family with the means to make a substantial donation to pay others to undertake the work required. But whoever you are, the children of Fiji desperately need you. You can help them get back to school, resume their normal lives and put the trauma of TC Winston behind them.


As well as publicly acknowledging your contribution on our website and on plaques erected in the schools that benefit, we are encouraging these relationships between donors and schools to be ongoing. The friendships you make as you extend a helping hand will be genuine, lasting and mutually enriching. You will have the gratitude of the Fijian people and the immense satisfaction of making a difference. And because you will see the happiness on the faces of the children you assist, Fiji can truly be a place where happiness finds you.


The Fiji Institute of Engineers is highly regarded locally and in the donor community. It has provided its services free of charge to carry out the assessments as its contribution to the Cyclone Winston relief effort. And the Fijian Government warmly thanks its members on behalf of the Fijian people. These people are highly qualified structural engineers capable of assessing the individual requirements of our schools accurately and to the highest professional standard. The integrity and credibility of this program is paramount. During the repair or rebuilding process, donors will receive progress reports to keep you fully informed of how your money is being spent.


The Government is determined to future proof our schools and give them the best possible chance of surviving future cyclones, which climate experts say are definitely coming our way. We recognise that there is no point in rebuilding just to have schools destroyed or damaged down the track. The FIE’s structural engineers possess the technical know-how on constructing schools and other infrastructure to international best practice in cyclone-prone areas. So donors can be sure not only of the integrity of this program but that we are rebuilding school facilities that will last.  

If you can help in any way, please contact us now.

Yours sincerely,

J.V Bainimarama
Prime Minister.