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Boy wants to go to school

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A teenager whose father does not have a stable job has had to resort to selling coconuts and pushing wheelbarrows for the past two years.

Now 15-year-old Taniela Tamanivalu, is waiting to be accepted in a vocational school in Lami because he wants to go back to school.

Taniela only went up to Class Eight before dropping out of school in 2006.

Taniela's grandmother, Litiana Liku admitted life was tough nowadays with the cost of living going up.

Mrs Liku said Taniela's father was a casual worker in the construction industry, who hoped to join the company building the new American Embassy, in Tamavua, Suva.

Speaking from the family home in the Jittu Estate squatter settlement, he said, "We are trying to get Taniela into a vocational school because he wants to go back to school.

"In the past two years Taniela stayed home, he collected and sold coconuts or pushed a wheelbarrow in town," she said.

Taniela has a brother and a sister who are in primary school, and an elder brother in Form 6 at Lami High School.

"Taniela's father has all the qualifications, but he is finding it hard to getting a stable job," Mrs Liku said.

Other families said they too were struggling to make ends meet.

At Muanivatu settlement, Anitakini Sivo said he was a casual worker at Fiji Sports Council, receiving $70 or less weekly in wages. "I have a son who was in Form Four last year, and he dropped out of school just before the external exams," he said.

"This year, I'm encouraging him to go back to school and I'm trying to find a school that will accept."

Mr Sivo said his other two children were in their village on Kadavu working on farms while a daughter attended the Fiji Institute of Technology.

A mother in Vunuku Settlement, in Vatuwaqa, Silika Maramavakaoca, said she hoped to get her son back to school after he missed a year because of a medical condition.