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Fiji Time: 10:48 AM on Friday 25 April

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Children first

Dawn Gibson
Monday, December 24, 2012

CHILDREN come first during this time of trauma and loss caused by Tropical Cyclone Evan, says evacuation centre volunteer Torika Masinika.

Ms Masinika was a volunteer with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Auckland in 2009 and uses the skills she developed there to assist with relief efforts for TC Evan in Nadi.

She and Joseph Kotowala, a seasoned emergency worker at the Andrew's Primary School evacuation centre, are currently providing aid to over 500 victims of TC Evan, many of whom are children.

Ms Masinika spoke passionately about the need to put children first during this time.

"It is important to preserve the memories of childhood. Here, the children come first. To make this happen, I've got some rules. These rules work," she said.

One of these rules include the banning of all alcohol and kava on the premises.

Another rule states that although adults are allowed back into the affected areas, children are not. "Children should never have to see their homes destroyed, it can damage their childhood experience and cause trauma," she said.

Ms Masinika gave praise to ADRA for what they taught her and how she has been able to put her skills to good use at home.

"You see, it all revolves around the children because if your kids are happy, you don't worry as much, you can go and fix your home. Children come first," she concluded.