TEN-YEAR-OLD Maria Lewanisese was hard at work yesterday helping her mother sell fruits and vegetables at the Suva market to earn money to buy school books for her and two siblings.
Young Maria travelled all the way to Suva from her Narata Village in Nadroga with her parents and elder sister around mid-day on Wednesday to sell their farm produce and will return home this evening.
Maria's mother Asena Colatibale said so far she still had a lot to buy for her three children who would be in Form Three and another two in Year Four and Year Five this year.
"She is just helping me out, every school break she will accompany me to the market to come and sell our produce. Whatever money we earn we go and buy her school items," Ms Colatibale said.
With 11 children to look after, Ms Colatibale said she was grateful to the government for the initiative taken to offer free education for schoolchildren in the country.
"I have eight children who have left school, and now only three are left in school, I have been taking care of their school needs for a very long time, and the free education scheme by the government is a relief," she said.
Ms Colatibale and Maria, who will be attending Year Five at Nabaka Primary School, were selling eggplants, bean, pawpaw, pumpkin and corn at the Suva market yesterday.