A TRUSTEE at abused women and children's refuge Loloma Home and Care Centre in Sabeto, Nadi, says he is shocked at the manner in which some women and young girls were treated when relationships between a couple failed.
Retired pilot and aviation specialist Jim Edwards said the two and a half years he spent assisting residents in the refuge revealed some disturbing trends.
"My heart breaks every time we receive a new family or child," the 77-year-old said.
"Most of the abandoned children are females. In many instances, after their parents have parted, these young girls have been cast aside because nobody wants them while their male siblings are kept.
"The most difficult thing I have to deal with on a daily basis is trying to encourage a young girl who feels like she is not worth anything and who feels that nobody is there for her."
Refuge founders Adi Laite Kubunadakai and Vaciseva Waqa said apart from providing a shelter for the young women and their children to rebuild their lives, Loloma Home also conducted daily activities to help them gain a sense of worth. "It's not easy but we take little steps every day and getting them involved in simple things like garden projects helps them build their self-esteem," Ms Waqa said.
Loloma Home and Care Centre has nine abused and neglected young mothers and 22 children.