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Fiji Time: 12:52 PM on Friday 25 April

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Fijians help their own

Ioane Burese
Saturday, February 16, 2013

IN 2011 a small group of Fijians living on the Air Force Base of Wattisham Airfield in the United Kingdom decided to help Fijians In Need. They raised and gave away $12,054.45 that year. Last year, they raised and gave $13,585.27.

According to a statement from the group, in October last year, Air Pacific's sales manager for the UK and Europe, Debbie Lewis, Cathay Pacific's pricing and commercial manager Tim McIntyre, Mana Islands' Cecelia Frost and South Sea Cruises agreed to give this group an amazing holiday package as the main prize for their next fundraising effort.

Fundraising co-ordinator Joe Seeto quickly put together a campaign and together with his loyal and hard-working committee members set about on their biggest challenge yet.

Because of the terms and conditions of their prizes and also because of deployment and work commitments, they were not willing to pass up this great prize and instead embarked on trying to achieve what many, including themselves, thought was an impossible and much too big of a task to take on.

They set their target at £10,000 and with October ending they realised that they only had two months to raise this huge amount of money. December was the lowest selling month and the group worked hard through January and recruited family and friends around the UK and also from abroad to assist achieve this mammoth task.

Luke Rokobuli, the group's chairman, said he was humbled by the generosity of those who reached deep to buy a raffle ticket for £10 for an opportunity to win an amazing prize but more importantly to help assist under privileged Fijian children.

The Nelson Mandela phrase "Education is the greatest weapon against poverty", Mandela inspired the group to give the under privileged children of Fiji a chance for an education.

"One of the greatest lessons I have learnt through all this is that we all have an opportunity to help, and because we have been blessed we have a responsibility to bless others," Mr Rokobuli said.

"The British Armed Forces have been hit with the largest cuts to the military budget in history and this means a lot more families will be made redundant with another 2000 to be named in June. Therefore, the amount raised is a reminder that our vision to help educate Fijians is shared by so many."

Only two months into 2013, this hard-working team has raised and donated $21,000 to the St Vincent's De Paul Student Assist Scheme.