“The school grounds turned into a battlefield during the fight”: Voices from PNG’s schoolyards

In Papua New Guinea’s Highlands tribal fighting isn’t always constrained to a battlefield – it can spill over and damage public infrastructure like schools, threatening entire communities’ access to education.

Amongst the violence school grounds can be looted and damaged. Sometimes, students and their families have no choice but to flee their homes and hide to survive – going years before returning to classes.

The portraits above provide a small snapshot of how students, parents and teachers’ lives are impacted by fighting in Hela Province and Southern Highlands Province.

Education not only equips children and young people with tools for the future, but also provides a sense of normalcy and is an important centre of community life. Education helps people rebuild their lives with dignity and agency after violence. Ensuring the continuity of education and a safe learning environment despite violence is a humanitarian priority.

The International Committee of the Red Cross works in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands with communities affected by tribal fighting, including support to schools and students. We help communities rebuild schools after violence by providing resources such as blackboards, stationary, desks, sanitary facilities and construction materials like new water tanks, concrete, plywood and roofing sheets.

Source : Icrc