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Success Stories

New Fencing Protects Rural School and Students

Robin Pulkkinen

Rural schools on remote, tropical, Western-Pacific islands often suffer from vandalism, graffiti and break-ins, especially after dark and on weekends. This was true at the elementary school in Lukop Village in Pohnpei. Lukop Elementary School has over
200 students and employs a dozen teachers and staff. They have become an easy target for vandals as well as occasional problems with unauthorized access by strangers during school hours. The community recognized the serious problem it faced, and despite fiscal
constraints, tasked Principal Wailer Olter to find a solution.

USDA Rural Development provided Lukop Elementary School with a $41,250 Community Facilities Grant to purchase a fence for the perimeter of the school. Funds were leveraged with a $13,750 grant from Australia’s Agency for International Development.

A local contractor procured materials and completed installation of the fence, which also encompasses and safeguards the Lukop Community Health Center and Early Childhood Education Center. The new seven foot tall fence includes multiple barbed-wire strands
along the top to prevent anyone from climbing over it.

Lukop students can now enjoy a safe and secure campus at their beloved school.

Recently the school hosted a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the project. “My colleagues, parents, and especially our students thank USDA Rural Development for your help, kindness, and support,” said Olter. “Our school
is now a much safer environment conducive for learning.”

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