The school bells are ringing again at Para Primary School in Hela Province after more than 150 staff and contractors from the ExxonMobil PNG operated PNG LNG Hides Gas Conditioning Plant (HGCP) have helped to repair earthquake damage in a Weekend of Caring on 15 and 16 December.
Damage from the earthquake was extensive, making it unsafe for children to attend classes and teachers to live in their houses.
ExxonMobil PNG volunteers were joined by members of the community who worked together in partnership to restore teacher accommodation, repair classroom concrete foundations and wall gaps, install sporting equipment and clean-up buildings and replant flower gardens.
HGCP Senior Field Superintendent, Murray Johnson, said everyone from the Hides plant who volunteered their time over the weekend was humbled by the experience. “We are delighted we could help to make the Para school safe again so that children could return to their studies in 2019 and for families to regain a little more normalcy. The weekend has been one of spirit and determination by everyone to work together to make a difference.”
“There is still much work to be done for communities to recover and we are committed to helping for the long term. We are continuing to assist with donations through the Salvation Army and local churches to help repair education, health and sanitation infrastructure,” said Johnson.
ExxonMobil PNG has also increased its funding in 2018 to assist the government in building and repairing roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure that was so severely damaged by the earthquake.
Para Primary School Board of Management Chairman Wilson Ayule said he was very impressed with the work. “For the school itself to do such a scale of work is not possible. We are very happy ExxonMobil PNG is supporting. The children are looking forward to coming back to school,” he said.