AN Australia-based trust that has assisted 45 children from low-income families gain access to tertiary education, is calling on local businesses to help end the cycle of poverty by employing students once they graduate.
Jerry Jeraj from the Lalit Jeraj Foundation — an organisation which has spent $194,000 on course fees at the Lautoka-based University of Fiji and other education institutions since the trust was established in 2006 — said the response from the local business community had been positive but slow.
"Education is the way out of the cycle of poverty that these children are caught up in," said the 76-year-old chartered accountant.
"And while they have done their bit by performing extremely well in their studies, it is disheartening for them when they find difficulties in getting employment after graduating. I must acknowledge Price Waterhouse Coopers and Punjas Fiji Limited for employing graduates and urge other businesses to give these students a chance."
Mr Jeraj is in the country for the graduation of 17 students supported by the foundation.
He said it was always a proud moment for him to see scholarship recipients overcome obstacles and gain recognition for their commitment and effort.