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Fiji Time: 2:49 AM on Wednesday 30 July

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Journey for a job

By MARGARET WISE
Thursday, June 11, 2009

LEWENI Vio, 13, dropped out of school without completing Class Four -- but believes he has plenty of time to pursue his dream.

That is why he left his highland village for the city, hoping to snatch a job at a car repair garage.

The Fiji Times caught up with the Ra lad at Tavakubu, on the outskirts of Lautoka city, selling mandarins from his Nailuva Village.

"I want to be a mechanic. I really want to be a mechanic," Vio said. "That is why I have come to the town so that my uncle can look for a job for me at some garage where I can start pursuing my dream."

He was quick to quip that he could read and write and was not illiterate. "If I had a choice, I would prefer to be in school," he said.

"But my parents couldn't afford to send me to school and I have been at home for three years now. I have an older sister who attended Form Six at Adi Cakobau School but she left school because we did not have the money for her to continue her education."

Vio moved to Lautoka to live with relatives a few weeks ago and his uncle Roni Tokalau said it was because the family did not want him to succumb to peer pressure in the village.

"There are a lot of kids who have dropped out of school, we have young men in the village, and so we did not want him to waste his time there. He was brought to live with my sister so we could engage him in meaningful work and also get him to work to help his family," Mr Tokalau said.

* Comprehensive research is for the first time being conducted to uncover the real prevalence of child labour in Fiji. Click here for the story.


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