VIDEO: ‘My daughter’s education is my duty,’ says Vanuatu cyclone father

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Vanuatu's Joana Bani.

MIL OSI Analysis – Pacific Media Centre/Pacific Media Watch

Ten-year-old Joana Bani tells her story at Black Sand near Vanuatu’s capital of Port Vila. Video: UNDP Pacific

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Item: 9189

Alice Clements
PORT VILA (UNDP Pacific/Pacific Media Watch): Edward Bani understands sacrifice. He supports his family in Black Sand, one of Port Vila’s poorest communities, by working as a labourer building roads on Tanna Island, a boat journey of several days from Vanuatu’s capital.

He was there when Cyclone Pam, an unprecedented Category 5 tropical cyclone, hit Vanuatu, bringing absolute destruction and affecting more than half the country’s population on 22 islands.

Telecommunications on Tanna Island were cut off for more than a week and he was desperate to get home to check on his family. Frantic with worry he went to Tanna airport and, after some time, managed to get a seat on a flight back to Port Vila with a NGO. He went straight to Black Sand and was reunited with his family.

Edward Bani and his 10-year-old daughter Joana. Image: UNICEF Pacific
“I was so relieved to see my children Susian (1), Joana (10), Fred (18) and my wife. We all cried when we were reunited. I was so relieved. But then I saw the house. There was nothing left. Our crops had gone and there was no power on, even now it’s still not on.”

“We have moved into the kitchen [a tin shed separate to the house] which we have repaired a little but we have no money to rebuild our home. The only way to get money is to leave my family again and return to Tanna to work. I don’t want to leave them at this time but it’s our only choice. Perhaps they will have to stay in our kitchen for another two months while I earn a little money”

Like most people in Vanuatu, Edward and his family depend on their fruit and vegetable gardens as their main source of food. Supermarket supplies are expensive to buy, especially so after the storm.

Money is a big problem but he’s quick to add that his daughter Joana will return to her studies as soon her badly-damaged school opens.

“I don’t know where we will find the money but it’s my duty as a father to educate her. Education is her future.”

Alice Clements is a UNDP Pacific journalist. This article was originally published on the UNDP Pacific blog.

Watch the video to hear Joana’s story

Joana Bani ... her father is prioritising her education. Image: UNDP Pacific

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence.

 

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues.
Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia’s FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand’s The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.