After hurricane devastation on British Virgin Islands, recent IoE MA grad Kimberly George is working to get her school up and running again.

Kimberly George recently returned to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) with her family to take up her new post as head of a high ranking local primary school. Coming home with her MA Education from the Institute of Education, Reading, Kimberly was looking forward to the challenges of her new role. Yet the situation she walked into was one she could never have predicted.

The BVI had just been virtually flattened by two devastating hurricanes. Her own school, the Bregado Flax Educational Centre (Primary), was dreadfully damaged and its secondary section completely destroyed.

“Most persons have lost everything”

Kimberly is now facing one of the most challenging situations a new Principal could imagine. While her section of the school will be usable after extensive repairs, the primary children will have to be taught in temporary accommodation while work is underway – and there is a desperate need for equipment and teaching materials.

Kimberley explained:

We have been hit really badly by two hurricanes. The BVI is quite devastated now. No communication or anything. Most persons have lost everything. And are leaving the country. My family is well. We lost our roof and the things in our home but we are alive. Thank God. My girls had to be relocated for school, as school will not be up and running for a while. They are staying with my family members abroad. It is quite difficult but the people of the territory are working to rebuild.

Artwork by students of the school

“As the new Principal of the primary school it is going to be challenging in my role as we have lost more than half the schools in the territory. I am working with the staff and people in the community to see how best we get the school up and running, with government help of course. Our education department resumed school with the first group of students on October 5. We will be housed in a temporary building until we get the school fixed.”

The IoE’s Dr Helen Bilton and Dr Karen Jones have set up a ‘Just Giving’ page to help Kimberly raise funds for equipment and teaching materials for the school.

Dr Helen Bilton said:

It was a great pleasure to have taught and worked with Kimberly as she progressed through her MA. She is a strong, influential and inspiring figure, as was plain during her time with us, and as has become clearly evident in her calm management of a nearly impossible situation in the aftermath of the devastating events in the British Virgin Islands. At the IoE, we are all wholeheartedly behind her in her remarkable efforts. Raising funds in this way is, we feel, the very least we can do to help.