Mahdia tragedy: President promises housing, new schooling opportunities for families


President Dr. Irfaan Ali on Sunday night met with the families affected by the horrific fire at the female dormitory of the Mahdia Secondary School and discussed what support they would like from his government.

After engaging with families who are from several far-flung villages in Region Eight, the Head of State committed the government’s support in several areas.

Because several parents and children raised concerns about returning to the dormitory in Mahdia to attend the secondary school, President Ali said the government would explore building secondary schools or special facilities in some of the far-flung communities where the students are from.

“Regardless of the criteria for the secondary school, we are going to build special facilities in these villages.

“We are going to send teachers to work with the children who are home so that we won’t have any learning losses (in the meantime),” President Ali said after meeting with the families at his official residence, State House in Georgetown.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali is flanked by several government ministers and public sector workers as he engages affected families on Sunday at the State House in Georgetown (Photo: Office of the President/ May 28, 2023)

If some children are desirous, it was noted that the government could also explore accommodating them at President’s College on the coast.

Aside from that, he acknowledged parents’ wishes for houses to be built for the families who lost children in the horrific fire. And President Ali said that would be provided.

These measures, he said, are being done to support the families. According to him, it joins the short term measures, such as medical treatment, being offered.

Specialist counsellors are also being flown into Guyana to provide mental health care to the affected persons.

“… nothing can compensate for the loss of a life.. But what we need to do is provide support,” the Head of State emphasised.

A total of 19 children– 18 girls and one boy- died in the devastating fire which started after 23:00 hrs on May 21.

The fire continued for some three hours before it was controlled. Another 29 girls were injured in the fire.

The school housed girls from Mahdia, Campbelltown, Micobie, El Paso and several other villages in the North Pakaraimas in Region 8.

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