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Sacrifice: A teen quits school to support his family

By MARGARET WISE
Thursday, June 11, 2009

THE need for money has driven Noa Nete, 14, to quit school and work to support his family.

The work ranges from helping with household chores to working for minimal pay - digging drains, painting homes, gardening or helping neighbours.

He was exposed to this lifestyle last year, after his family faced the difficult decision of pulling him out of school just before his Class Eight exams.

By then he was also ready to leave school because of the relentless teasing he got from students about unpaid school fees. 

His mother, Eleni Wati Sorokibau, 46, said she simply could not afford to keep him in school because her elderly husband was out of work and she had five other children to take care of.

"We were having money problems; bus fare, lunch money and all those other costs. He had an older sister in Form Four and we sat and talked about it for a long time," she explained. 

"Since Seleima was ahead in education and about to sit her Fiji Junior Examination, we decided to support her and put whatever financial resources we had behind her. She managed to pass her exams and is now in Form Five."

Mrs Sorokibau said she was sickly and this made life tougher for the family who live at Saweni, just outside Lautoka.

"My husband is 66 years old and was out of work long ago. We now survive with whatever little each member of the family can bring in," she explained.

"Noa has been very good as he helps with chores around the house and looks for work with the neighbours, at construction sites and at the farms around the area.

"We would love to have him back in school but our circumstances just won't allow it."

Mrs Sorokibau also revealed that tragedy struck the family last November when her mother's house was razed.

* Click here for Journey for a job, which tells of another teenage boy who is forced to work for a living


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