MORE children will be able to attend school this year unhindered by the burden of meeting school fees, thanks to Air Pacific's 'Wings of Hope' grant to the FRIEND scholarship fund.
Airline managing director and chief executive officer Dave Pflieger handed $100,000 this week to the fund. This is additional to the $135,000 provided last year for the purpose of educating children.
FRIEND's founder and director Sashi Kiran said the money was a timely boost to thousands of schoolchildren in the country, especially families who were severely affected by Tropical Cyclone Evan last December.
"We are very grateful that Air Pacific has stepped forward to support the FRIEND scholarship fund," Ms Kiran said.
"The money will be used to ensure that maximum numbers of children are supported in their first term to remain in school.
"We are aware that many parents are having great difficulty in educating their children as they have suffered from Cyclone Evan with many homes and job losses due to the impact of the category 4 menace," she said.
"Last year, FRIEND assisted more than 2000 children in primary and secondary schools around the country, and this timely donation by our national airline would allow us to increase our assistance to children affected by Cyclone Evan.
Mr Pflieger said the airline was thrilled to be part of a successful scholarship program.
"While we will have other exciting announcements later this year, we're proud to start 2013 with this contribution of $100,000 from our on-board 'Cash for Kids' and 'Wings of Hope' programs, just as we did last year," Mr Pflieger said.
"Of course, our heartfelt appreciation goes to our customers who contribute to 'Cash for Kids'. It shows that they, like we, view children as Fiji's greatest treasure, and their generosity shows true appreciation of this wonderful country and its people," added Mr Pflieger.
In accordance with FRIEND's policy, all donations go towards the scholarship fund.