THE people of Nadroga/Navosa raised $408,244.95 in the two-day Adi Nadroga/Navosa festival at Nasigatoka Village.
The fundraising was opened by the district of Nabuavaju on Friday morning with the sum of $121,331.30.
Last year Nadroga paramount chief Na Kalevu Ratu Sakiusa Makutu traditionally presented a whale's tooth to the Nabuavaju people asking them to open this year's festival.
According to the district's spokesman Alivate Henirara the traditional request meant so much to them and there was no looking back from day one as the Nabuavaju district held meetings to discuss fundraising initiatives.
Mr Henirara said Ratu Sakiusa's traditional approach to the chiefs of the district at Yavulo Village was a humble one.
He said it was a humbling experience for the people of Nabuavaju to be approached by their paramount chief.
The Nabuavaju district comprises the villages Koroua, Hautabu, Vunaqoru, Naviyago, Rarabahaga, Koronihagana, Tawatawadji, Toga , Jubairata, Vunarewa and Mavua situated along the banks of the Sigatoka River and approximately 30 to 40 km from Sigatoka Town.
He said it was agreed that each village would raise $10,000 and villagers started to till their land and produce were sold at the market. Funds from the use of the Sigatoka river by tourist operators were also collected to meet the target.
Mr Henirara said it was overwhelming to witness the chiefs and people of Nabuavaju defy all odds to collect such a huge amount of money.
"I thank the Taukei Naraunivuga, Safari Tours and the people of Nabuavaju for their struggle but most importantly I praise God for fulfilling our target and giving us a good heart," he said.
All 22 districts in Nadroga/Navosa converged for two days to collect money which will be used extensively for scholarships for students within the province who are in tertiary institutions.