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Fiji Time: 5:37 PM on Thursday 24 April

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Former inmate believes in hard work

Ana Madigibuli
Saturday, February 23, 2013

STARTING his own bakery business was something that former inmate Apakuki Balabalatabua had always dreamt of doing after being released from prison.

The former inmate of Ba Corrections Centre believes that he can achieve anything through hard work and determination.

Mr Balabalatabua of Natawarau Village in Ba was released from the Ba Corrections Centre last month and is now operating his own bakery at Natawarau.

He is married with two children.

He was incarcerated for six years for robbery.

He said to earn a living, people had to stand on their own two feet and work towards their goal.

"Six years is enough for me, and now I am focusing to start a new life by operating a small bakery business at Natawarau Village in Ba in order to put food on the table," he said.

Mr Balabalatabua started his small business last week with the assistance from a non-government organisation called Head Heart and Hands Outreach Ministry in Ba.

"I learnt to bake bread when I was in Naboro over the past two years and I really want to utilise my skills in baking, that is why I had a plan to start with the bakery business upon release," he said.

The former inmate said last week he earned more than $100 by selling bread and buns to fellow villagers at Natawarau Village.

Mr Balabalatabua says his long-term plan is to expand the bakery business and he is waiting for assistance from the Fiji Corrections Service.

"I am probably the first former inmate in the Western Division to start up a bakery business and my plan is to make the most of it.

"I was very happy to earn more than $100 just only for two days operation," he said.

Fiji Corrections Service media liaison officer west Semesa Uluiviti said the service would do its best to assist those who had been released from any corrections facilities so they did not re-offend.