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Second chance

Jone Kalouniviti
Tuesday, February 18, 2014

MANY people do not get second chances in life.

In fact, those who break the law are often punished for the rest of their lives, mainly because society does not fully accept them once released from prison.

And this was Esekaia Daulako's reality until three years ago.

The 27-year-old Vunato resident has been to prison on three different occasions.

"He was just following the wrong crowd and the cycle of crime here in Vunato," said his dad Kiso Sova.

The 50-year-old knows too well the life of crime having been involved himself during his youth.

"It's hard to settle down and make an honest living once you enter that part of life because no one will give you a job or accept you as a person who can be productive.

"I look back now and wonder how I even did that," Esekaia said. Today, the Class Seven dropout is a learned and well-spoken young man.

In 2010, through an initiative of the community policing intervention program, Mr Sova and his former inmate friend, Jone Rabici, decided to form a dance troupe made up initially of their children.

In partnership with Penijamini Vuki, a civilian in the Fiji Police Force, they formed the Fiji WOW entertainment group.

"So we set up this dance group because police wanted to do an intervention program in the community to use as a model for other problem communities," Mr Sova explained.

The community's good fortunes continued with Richard Lucas, the owner of the popular Lautoka radio station, Mix FM, accepting an invitation from Mr Vuki. He became a mentor and sponsor helping out with radio announcements and the use of sound systems for awareness programs and entertainment.

"Well I was hooked on these talented kids the moment I first saw them," Mr Lucas shared.

"Take Esekaia's case for example, now he is the leader of the group, something to be proud of."

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