PERSONAL issues prompted Josephine Vulakouvaki to drop out of school at an early age.
However, living without any qualifications and facing numerous challenges on a daily basis made her realise the importance of school.
The Kadavu lass has since returned to school at DAV College in Ba and she is in Year 12.
"I wanted to do something and be someone; I wanted to become independent rather than surviving on my parents' earnings all my life," Vulakouvaki said.
She believes it is important that students know the hardships that school drop-outs go through. Hence, she made the decision to enter the Digicel Ba Riverside Carnival this year. Sponsored by Fiji Sugar Corporation, she will advocate on the importance of education.
"In order to lead a secure future, we have to be well educated. We can't depend on our parents or spouses. It is important, especially for girls, to be independent."
Ms Vulakouvaki now has high hopes for the future, hoping to become either a flight attendant or an FSC field officer.
"I grew up in the FSC community. I attended FSC Primary School and everyone in my family is associated with the company.
"From my great-grandfather to my father and aunts, everyone is employed by FSC."
The Digicel Ba Riverside carnival will start on Monday.