Heroes rise during crisis

Allen Lockington (second from left) with Joeli Sauqaqa look at food supplies for affected recipients of Tore settlement in Lovu Lautoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

Greetings readers, my thoughts are with you all as we go through this social and economic downturn which seems to be spiraling out of control, but there is some goodness that has come out of all of this.

As our politicians continue to struggle to find a plan on the way forward for the nation, a vacuum has been filled by the citizens of our beloved country.

The void that has been missing for so many years is empathy, love, compassion and a real sense of working together.

It has now taken individual citizens and organisations to band together to move the country forward as this is really the only way out of poverty and hunger for thousands upon thousands of people.

These bad times have created our local heroes, who have come to the forefront to assist the poor and needy.

There is no time to wait as thousands of our citizens have been terminated from their jobs, unemployment is now gone through the roof, our tourism, manufacturing, sugarcane farming and many other industries are on its knees, so now is the time to act.

We currently wait eagerly for the outcome of the Government’s national budget in a few weeks time and hopefully there will be a lot of help for the majority of the population who are suffering deeply during this time.

The unfortunate truth is we need action now as thousands upon thousands of people are falling into poverty in our nation.

I apologise in advance if I am being a little critical, but criticism is a good thing in our society as it highlights the need and the reality on the ground that might not be seen by the privileged, plus it’s a great indicator of where the real need is.

Having said that out of adversity, new heroes have emerged who have been in the background working tirelessly to assist the grassroots of society.

First up are Sashi Kiran and her NGO Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises & Development, fondly known as FRIEND.

Their organisation has not only been assisting the needy, but also busy posting on social media excellent gardening videos on self sufficient ways to do backyard vegetable gardening.

These social media posts have become very popular to adopt for all citizens of our country, a truly welcome and timely initiative.

Next up, we have our Lautoka residents in the West, Allen Lockington, Dennis Rounds and other helpers, who have been organising food parcels and other much needed items for many residents in the western division.

I have been watching on social media as numerous volunteers have been assisting in this worthy project that impacts on the lives of many.

In the Central Division we have the hard working members of the Salvation Army and its volunteers who have managed to prepare and deliver more than 5500 light meals to people in need in just four weeks.

A lovely gesture to those who need this service, and they continue to serve where the need is.

Last and certainly not the least is the crucial work carried out by the NGO, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, who have been over worked in all its locations across the country.

The workload has increased substantially as families and communities have had to live in close proximity of each other for long periods of time, sometimes leading to emotional, mental and physical abuse.

These are just a handful of the wonderful individuals and organisations helping at this time.

I do realise these caring people neither seek publicity or fame, but through their very examples, the spirit of caring and sharing is coming alive as we move into a bleak and uncertain future.

I urge all those able to help, now is the time to open your hearts and help your neighbour, family, friends even individuals that you may not know.

Finally, I salute and bow my head to all the wonderful citizens who are helping the less fortunate during these difficult times, you are indeed our local heroes.

No one has ever become poor by giving.

  • Ajay Bhai Amrit is a freelance writer. The views expressed are his and not of this newspaper.


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