ABOUT 400 needy children of Lautoka received assistance in the form of school bags and exercise books worth $13,000.
The handover was made by the Farmers Carnival Association yesterday.
Association president Udit Narayan said they had, on previous occasions, helped children with their school fees.
"Since the government has initiated the free education scheme, we wanted to help children in other ways," Mr Narayan said.
"We have bought school bags and exercise books according to the lists the children were given by their schools."
Mr Narayan said a total of $20,000 worth of assistance would be provided to the students.
"The government's free education scheme is beneficial for the people and hopefully it continues for years to come.
"Since government is not providing exercise books, we thought we would do this for the students."
Silive Drua, 40, was among the parents present with their children to collect the bags and books.
"This is the first time I have come here to ask for assistance and I am very thankful to the association for all they've done," the Tomuka resident said.
"I have three children all attending school and my husband is a casual worker, so we really needed this assistance."
Similarly, Monika Builiu said putting her two children through to school was hard and the assistance from the association has helped her children get educated.
The women were grateful for the help provided by the government in paying the children's school fees.