The Ministry of Education, on Wednesday, completed the handover ceremony for the vessel facilitating student ferry services between Fehendhoo and Goidhoo in Baa Atoll.
The project, completed under an MVR 2.5 million grant from the Indian government, is intended to ensure safe transportation for students in Fehendhoo that travel to the neighbouring island of Goidhoo to attend school on a daily basis.
Establishment of ferry services was funded under a grant of MVR 106 million arranged by India in March 2019 in order to conduct socio-economic development.
Minister of Education Dr Aishath Ali, State Minister for Education Ahmed Riyaz, Indian Ambassador to Maldives Sunjay Sudhir, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid and parliamentary representative for Thulhaadhoo, Baa Atoll participated in the handover function held at Izzuddin Jetty in the capital city of Male'.
The ceremony could not be held in Fehendhoo due to considerations on limiting travel amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Expressing gratitude to the Indian government for facilitating transport between Fehendhoo and Goidhoo, Minister Shahid noted that the completion of the project marked the long-awaited solution to challenges faced by the students of Fehendhoo as well as their parents.
He also asserted that the project symbolised the government’s commitments to strengthening access to education across Maldives and empowering local communities.
Indian Ambassador Sunjay Sudhir also expressed satisfaction over being able to alleviate difficulties faced by the island council of Fehendhoo. The ambassador further noted that 17 additional projects were ongoing at various islands under the MVR 106 million grant facilitates in 2019.
Students residing in Fehendhoo receive schooling from Goidhoo as no educational facilities are established on the former island due to its considerably small population.
Prior to the establishment of the ferry service, Fehendhoo students travelled to Goidhoo on a dinghy.
Located in the natural atoll known as 'Goifulhafehendhoo', which falls under the administration of Baa Atoll, the two islands share a vast lagoon that without a stable vessel, has proven increasingly difficult to travel across in bad weather, therefore encroaching upon the children's right to education.