Editorial comment: Reality on the ground

Image: FENC Fiji

So a non-governmental organisation in the country that assists in educating needy children is concerned that the recent flooding by the effects of TC Cody, combined with the effects of COVID-19 has laid back students in their studies.

Priya Lata, the national coordinator for the Foundation for the Education of Needy Children in Fiji (FENC Fiji) said families affected by the flood would take several weeks and days to get back on their feet.

“At this point, parents will only be able to send their children to school if their homes and source of income were not affected by the flood and damage caused by TC Cody,” said Ms Lata.

Data, she noted, stated the majority of the families in rural areas rely on their plantation as their main source of income.

“If their farms are destroyed by the flood, then sending their children to school will be very hard.”

A lot of parents had raised concerns about sending their children back to school, she noted.

“Just recently after TC Cody, we have received double numbers of calls from parents who need assistance to be able to send their children to school because they have to struggle to fix their farms and homes. She noted the majority of calls came from the Western and Eastern side of Fiji.

“The main challenge for the parents is to fully equip their children before sending them to school, that is, uniforms, bags, books, stationery, shoes, food, and water.

“Some parents fully equipped their children before this cyclone and now majority of things are damaged due to flood.

“Their main burden is to rebuild everything they have lost which will exhaust their savings.” FENC Fiji, she said, was not funded by the Government nor received any grants.

“The organisation assisted poor families through donations they received. “FENC Fiji is looking to provide food rations, clothes distribution, and school bag packs to families who are badly affected by the flood.”

What we have here are scenarios that are quite real it seems. The challenge we have is understanding them, embracing processes and systems to assist those impacted, and actually doing something about it.

We cannot say life is a breeze for many families. In fact putting food on the table daily is becoming a major challenge for many families affected in various ways by circumstances.

We acknowledge all the good Samaritans and every Fijian who actually takes time out to come to the assistance of others.

But we need to be aware. We need to understand the reality on the ground, and take appropriate action.

More Stories