HE used to have cassava and tea for breakfast, go to school without lunch and harvested sugar cane to supplement his struggling family's income.
After completing high school and tertiary education on scholarship, he received a scholarship to study in India but life was not easy for him there.
The tuition fees were paid and since he was provided with lunch and dinner only, he had to buy bread every day for breakfast, morning and afternoon tea.
He only disposed of the bread when fungus started appearing on it.
But today, Arvin Datt, 39, is a successful businessman in Suva and a candidate for the Fiji Labour Party in the September general election.
Originally of Moto in Ba, he is the owner of 3SA Carpets in Vatuwaqa.
"I think I've done enough for myself and it's time for me to do something for the people. I want to do something for the poor because I came through that life, from a very poor family," Mr Datt said.
"I harvested sugar cane when I was in Class Five and I was part of a family harvesting gang. When in India on scholarship, I was only provided with lunch and dinner so I had to buy bread and the only time I stopped eating it was when I could see fungus there.
"Since I've been through that life, the first thing I'll do if I become a representative of the people in parliament would be to bring immediate relief to poor people by giving cash benefits similar to dole in overseas. Also, there needs to be a medicare system where people can just take their cards to the private doctors and get checked up."