Moving from her job as a municipal administrator with the Tavua Town Council to the area of special education, specifically for the blind and visually impaired, was literally a life-turning event for Barbara Farouk.
Barbara introduced her family to the world of the blind and the visually impaired, and along with her two children and husband, they have all joined to become advocates for the blind and the visually impaired.
As executive director for the Fiji Society for the Blind, Barbara comes into close contact with the students from the Fiji School for the Blind everyday and on a 24/7 basis too.
She manages the school and the society and also stays within the school compound, right next to the students' dormitories.
As I was speaking to her, her husband had just left to pick up students from their high schools since their driver was not available that afternoon.
And she told me how her daughter changed her own career aspirations to become a special education teacher.
"She was actually studying management but she changed her course to special education and went to the Lautoka Teachers College, and she had just completed her degree program," Barbara says.
Her daughter, Nazrana Dean is now teaching at the Fiji School for the Blind and she is the second teacher in the family, the first being Barbara's husband and Nazrana's father.
"I know it's not part of my job but you just can't stand aside especially since I stay within the school compound, I cannot avoid being part of their lives and sometimes I end up playing a parent," she shares.
A six year-old boy from Nadi and another boy from Nadroga virtually hang onto her skirt wherever she goes and during school hours, until the time for them to sleep comes around.
"Yes but I also enjoy a degree of satisfaction to see these two young boys grow into independent young men.
"The Nadroga boy is now doing his pre vocational studies and for me to see them reach high school and tertiary, I really enjoy a sense of satisfaction because I played a part in that," Barbara says.
Barbara is officially the guardian of all pacific island students that come over to study at the school and this is a role she relishes.
"I take them out shopping and teach them, especially those who are visually impaired and blind.
"At times I have come across the goodness of the members of the public. One time a shopkeeper gave our students shoes free of charge," she says.
In her 12 years as an administrator for the school for the blind, Barbara usually faces obstacles from the parents of those who are visually impaired or blind.
She says this is mainly because of the sense of denial that many parents are in but the school and the society have managed to overcome many of these cases by holding workshops for parents who are going to send their children to this special needs school.
"We've had to convince the parents and we manage these through our outreach programs and workshops where we work closely together with parents on the children's progress through school," she says.
Her previous work as a municipal council administrator has come in handy over the 12 years she has spent at the school.
Together with a dedicated board, Barbara has worked to modernise the school and to raise awareness as well as much needed funds to be able to keep the school open.
"Our board has worked very hard to bring modern infrastructure to ensure students are given a good and proper education," she explains.
Running the school hostel alone costs the society $70,000 per year and on top of that, she has to ensure that her students are schooled in the latest and best methods of special needs education the country has to offer.
A brailler costs $1000 to bring to Fiji alone and on top of that, the printing of braille books and papers requires a different kind of printing technology altogether.
Barbara has to ensure the school keeps abreast with the latest technologies in special needs education.
"And I am also grateful to the embassies and high commissions who are our donors for helping us throughout the years," she says.
On her latest fundraising drive, Barbara hopes to raise more than $100,000 through the annual Fiji Society for the Blind appeal, which includes cash tins, fliers to post office box owners and street appeals.