Fiji Time: 4:01 PM on Thursday 18 January

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Help for life

Maciu Malo
Sunday, January 12, 2014

THE educational dreams of 120 poor students in Nadroga/Navosa have come true after the Fiji Kids organisation offered to financially sponsor their education from kindergarten to university level.

This provided the children with a lifetime opportunity they could only have dreamt of, given the struggles faced by their parents who live in poverty in various farming settlements.

Organisation founder Julie Hoskinson said the funding was given by tourists, former Fiji residents and Fijians who expressed warmth towards Fiji and her less fortunate children.

She said the 120 children were the poorest living in rural areas and the organisation had spent between $F50,000 to $F90,000 annually.

"We sponsor children not only for a year but for life," Ms Hoskinson said.

"We rely on the headteacher of the primary or the secondary schools to identify young people in their community who are struggling and most importantly the kids who are committed to studying and want to do better with their lives and where the parents too who want to break out of the poverty cycle.

"The headteachers found out that the kids come to school in very old uniforms. We even came across a report where one headmaster reported that a student was hiding in the bush because there were no underpants. These are the ones that we are supporting."

Ms Hoskinson said Fiji Kids started about five years ago from humble beginnings, after which it gained momentum and had since attracted a large following the world over.

Some of the sponsors were tourists from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, England, the US, Canada and Ireland while some were from Fiji.

"This organisation started after one of the very big floods in the West five years ago and we realised that some families, particularly in the rural areas, were wiped out by the flood and they had no form of livelihoods because their farms were washed away.

"But also they were so poor and had no chance of recovering and because of that, sending their children to school was hard."

"We assist kids in deep financial hardship, often where parents have passed away or when there is no breadwinner.

"Everybody in Fiji struggles but the kids that we help are those that struggle the most.

"We started with 14 students and have assisted more than 120, we have some graduates too with us. Some in Form Seven, one has just graduated with a diploma in accounting and another two studying in FNU doing a diploma in primary education."

She said overseas sponsors were paying a lot of money to help local children.

At Sigatoka yesterday, the students were given their stationaries and also had the opportunity to meet their sponsors, who come all the way from overseas before being treated to refreshments and lunch sponsored by Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji.

"We assist kids in deep financial hardship, often where parents have passed away or when there is no breadwinner.

"Everybody in Fiji struggles but the kids that we help are those that struggle the most.

"We started with 14 students and have assisted more than 120, we have some graduates too with us. Some in Form Seven, one has just graduated with a diploma in accounting and another two studying at FNU doing a diploma in primary education."

She said overseas sponsors were paying a lot of money to help local children.

At Sigatoka yesterday, the students were given their stationery and also had the opportunity to meet their sponsors, who are here on holiday, before being treated to refreshments and lunch sponsored by Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji.








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