Future for Youth in North Tarawa

Future for Youth in North Tarawa

by Philip Drew & Students of IHC

Philip Drew began his Palms Australia placement as a Secondary Maths & Science Teacher/Mentor at the beginning of February 2020 at Immaculate Heart College [IHC], Kiribati. 

International Youth Day focuses on the Youth of today’s world and celebrates their aspirations for the future of our tiny planet.

What follows are a few ideas from Form 5 2024 students at Immaculate Heart College, Taborio, North Tarawa, in the Republic of Kiribati. The Republic consists of 32 Atolls and one Island, in the Pacific Ocean. Over half of the Republic’s population live on a sliver of an Atoll called South Tarawa.

I asked the students to reflect on three questions, namely:

  1. Where do they see themselves in ten years from now?
  2. What fears and concerns do they have for the future?
  3. If they were the President of Kiribati, what would be a priority in their government?
Terine – Bairiki, South Tarawa

Terine – Bairiki, South Tarawa

I am studying hard to realise my hope and dream of being a secondary teacher.

I worry about the sea level rise caused by global warming. Kiribati is lower than other countries and when the sea level rises our land will be eroded by the sea.

If I was President I would talk about the problems that face our country, especially sea level rising. I hope all the owners of factories clean up their manufacturing for the good of the environment.

Boikaua – Terubea Village, Marakei Island

What I’ll be doing in ten years from now – I just want to be a doctor. I’m going to marry a girl that I love and have babies. I want to be a doctor because I want to help people that are sick and get paid for my work.

My fear about the future is global warming. This is not a good thing for our people, and will affect people’s lives. The lack of local fresh vegetables, fresh water are other issues effecting people’s lives.

If I was President of Kiribati I would help people who can’t work by giving them money for their food. Another thing would be to help people find work in every place so that they can have money and manage their needs and wants.

Teauama – Rungata Village, Nikunau Island

In ten years time I will be a teacher, because I like the teacher. At that time I will not be married because marriage is very, very busy. Instead I like the work of the teacher. I will teach many subjects to the students because I like them to want to earn scholarships and go overseas.

My fear for the future is climate change. It will be very bad for all the country and could stop many students going to school, winning scholarships and overseas.

If President, I will like my country. I will make new transport for the people. I want my people to walk on new roads.

Monika – Teaoke Village, South Tarawa

In ten years time I will be helping the poor and being kind and respectful to my parents.

I will get my job in the future working in the bank, but will help my family to get their food, drink or things that they will need.

If President I will protect the people of the earth as well as my family.

Kaabure – Bwanraeba Island

I plan to study and work hard in school. I will pray for the President. I will respect myself, my learning, others and my environment.

I have many fears for the future, one is rising sea levels, another global warming and climate change. When these come Kiribati will be taken away by the sea.

If I am President, I will make Kiribati better than now. I would firstly increase the price for our oceans to overseas fishing companies. Second is to fix up the road and make it better. I will make the hospital better and support the talent of the young in sports such as football and volleyball. That is what I will do when I’m President.

Their responses reflect major issues facing the Republic. Global warming and the rising sea level is a huge issue. Tarawa has a maximum height of about one metre above the highest tide. Rising sea level is going to dramatically impact the lives of these students in 20 years from now (if not sooner). The Government stipulation that secondary education be conducted in English (a goal rather than a universal reality) is an attempt to prepare the young to be global citizens. Already some people are beginning to settle on land bought by the Republic in Fiji.

Other issues raised by their writings include, adequate social welfare, meaningful employment throughout the Republic, adequate sporting facilities and opportunities to excel for the youth, adequate hospital facilities (there is only one),  improved roads (Tarawa has one narrow bitumen road running its length), improved public transport, review of fishing licences, adequate supplies of affordable fresh fruit and vegetables, clean drinking water and I will add sanitation and alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

Philip Drew began his Palms Australia placement as a Secondary Maths & Science Teacher/Mentor at the beginning of February 2020 at Immaculate Heart College [IHC], Kiribati.