Mohenesh Singh is the only male in the female dominated sector of early childhood education. In a world where formal education begins from this important but maligned sector, Mohenesh has adopted it and is becoming a children's rights advocate in the process.
"A child's needs are very special. This time should be valued for providing the foundation of learning and not seen as a preparation of school but preparation for life. Raising children is not only the responsibility of mothers or females but it is an equal responsibility, a shared responsibility," Mohenesh says.
He first started off as a preschool teacher assistant at the Nadi International School in 2003 and the five years he spent as a preschool teacher changed his life forever.
"Well it is very important that Fiji has knowledgeable children who grow up as good citizens. To achieve this we need to understand child's development stages. While on the other hand we need to advocate for more male to be in this field so we can include them to understand child issues. And hopefully this would minimise some of the key problems like child abuse, neglect and so on," Mohenesh says.
In 2009 he was given a scholarship by the Australia-Pacific Technical College to study children services courses provided at Box Hill University. And again, Mohenesh was the only male student.
"I was the only male in that lot and it really boosted my self esteem."
Since graduating Mohenesh has been not only advocating for the recognition of early childhood education but also for more males to be involved in this area which he says is one important stage of development in a child's life.
"In future I am planning to open a children services association where I intend to promote more males in doing activities for children. This association will not only promote males in female domain but educate males how to care and support child's development stages
"We also have plans to encourage all those males working in this field and support them with professional development. Currently I am using my knowledge in children services to engage with some male graduates from other Pacific countries to form our association," Mohenesh says.
He is the only male member of the Fiji Early Childhood Teachers Association's Nadi branch.
Mohenesh believes that male involvement in early childhood education can help in reducing crimes like assault, rape and child abuse as they will get to understand issues and take active part in promoting and advocating children issues.
"This will also give males an opportunity to prove that not all males are predators but also child advocate. This will also help to direct many minds to do positive things for our children. It's through education and advocacy we can change and reform many people," he says.
In 2010 Mohenesh was given funds by the Vodafone ATH foundation to carry out his project on early childhood education and create more awareness about the important promoting children's rights at various early childhood education centers around Fiji.
So far he has been travelling around Fiji visiting various early childhood education centers sharing his knowledge and he also plans to visit remote areas of Viti Levu to meet early childhood teachers who do not have access to new teaching technology.
"I also do lots of public speaking on child rights and promote importance of early child hood education and involvement of more males in early childhood education."
Mohenesh says more help is still needed to promote the need for early childhood education in the country.
"Early childhood is the foundation stage of a child and what a child becomes depends on how well his foundation stage has been supported.
"Simply because we have to understand and realise that a child's first learning environment is his/her home environment, their first teachers are their parents, their guardians and community at large," he says.
Mohenesh is also a man of many talents but all his efforts are concentrated on children. He is helping needy children by supporting their education and help by putting them back into school.
As the chairperson for APTC Alumni Association in the Western Division, he has helped other alumni members collect school stationery for needy children, pay for tuition for vocational education as well as building a sand pit for Treasure Home in Nadi.
And as an active member of his community's Ramayan Mandali, Mohenesh does Ramayan preaching and counseling when needed.
"Serving the community and needy people are my passions," Mohenesh says reverently.