Back to school: Vendor tells of expense and school needs

Akosita Tailasa, 43, in tears while sharing her story with the Fiji Times at the Nakasi market yesterday. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

Akosita Tailasa is worried about the new school year as none of her children have their school stationery ready with only a week to go before the new term begins.

Teary-eyed and distraught, the 43-year-old mother said she was one of many vendors who were given a notice by the Nausori Town Council to relocate from Nakasi to either the Nausori or the Laqere markets.

“My husband is only a farmer. The vegetables and root crops we grow in Toga, Rewa is what I sell here in Nakasi for our livelihood,” Ms Tailasa said.

“Our $400 rent, bills, food on our table, my children’s school stuff, their lunches, all that depend on what we earn from selling our produce. Nowhere else. We have no other source of income.

“We do not make much money and now if they relocate us to Nausori, that’s added expenses that we do not have.

“Business went downhill after they removed our tables and stalls for STC Yasa along with the produce left in our stalls. Now with our makeshift tents that we need to remove and daily transport, expenses are more than the money we earn from our produce.

“It costs $25 a trip by carrier to transport our produce now that we cannot leave our produce here overnight like before,” she said.

“I have a toddler and three children who are supposed to be in school this year. One in Year 10, one in Year 6 and another in Year 4. My three children do not have their school stuff ready yet and I wonder how we will manage with just a week to go before school.

“This is our livelihoods at stake. Our daily survival. Our children are depending on us to not only provide, but be able to cater for their school needs. Now I don’t know how my husband and I will manage.”

Ms Tailasa pleads with the authorities to reconsider their decision because their survival and children’s education depend on the little she makes from her market in Nakasi.

School is officially scheduled to start on January 19 with teachers to commence work on January 18.

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