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Fiji Time: 5:33 PM on Thursday 24 April

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Hard work pays

Torika Tokalau
Friday, December 06, 2013

SIX years of campaigning for advanced rights of persons with disabilities to employment in Fiji through the Include Disability Employ this Ability (IDEA) program paid off on Wednesday night for Joshko Wakaniyasi.

Mr Wakaniyasi, 41, was one of the six recipients of the Pacific Human Rights Awards.

The award, given by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Regional Rights Resource Team, recognises Pacific Island nationals who have demonstrated a high degree of commitment to social justice and human rights through an extended period of dedicated work, either paid or voluntary.

"The award only reflects that we are actually doing what really needs to be done," Mr Wakaniyasi said.

Mr Wakaniyasi lives with a disability that is classified as quadriplegia which affects him from the neck to his toes. He acquired the disability 10 years ago when he fell off a bench.

"It developed into muscle constraints, and then disability. I still have full body sensation and internal and external body control, but muscles have stiffened up.

"I'm one of the fortunate ones — it has not slurred my speech nor affected my mental capacity. I am still strong and I know there's still a lot of work that I can still do."

* Tomorrow: Your national IDEA survey form