Thursday, February 07, 2008

A real Marama


from w
There are many outstanding women from various races in Fiji. One of them from our generation is Marama Sovaki whose story is told in a feature article in today's Fiji Times. She comes from Lomaiviti, which also makes her special. From this generation there are people like Esiteri Kamikamica and Lorini Tevu. Also we know there are many intelligent Fiji women of the younger generation who are making their mark in today's complex society. They are the young teachers, doctors, lawyers, artists, home-makers. The magazine Marama includes many stories every issue about such women of Fiji.

Joy in living for othersGERALDINE PANAPASA
Friday, February 08, 2008

Having the support of family and friends is one of the most important factors to living a happy life. Ask Marama Sovaki, a person who has dedicated her life to her family and friends. Ms Sovaki is the coordinator of the National Committee for the World Day of Prayer on March 7.

Her life may not be full of drama, but she says she had a happy, satisfied life living for others. Ms Sovaki's had a normal childhood growing up in Bureta in Ovalau. Life in Bureta was like any other typical village life. Her father was a native magistrate.

Ms Sovaki has been involved in social work most of her life and is proud of the fact that she can help make a difference in someone else's life. She spent her primary school years attending Bureta District School and later Ballantine Memorial Secondary and Lelean Memorial Secondary school.

Ms Sovaki is a staunch Methodist but believes her experience at school exposed her to ecumenism and multiculturalism. "I believe my learning in school exposed me to ecumenism which is a kind of cooperation and unity among Christian churches,'' she said. "I was always interested in this unification. "Even when I was a child, we had family friends who were Punjabi and they used to sleep over at my house.

"I learnt from a young age how to love and accept people of all backgrounds,'' she said. Ms Sovaki says life in the village was good. There were six of us in the family and we had a normal upbringing. At that time my father was a native magistrate and he worked in Vanua Levu. One of my uncles also worked as a doctor in Savusavu. I had wanted to become a teacher at one stage but then I changed my mind and became a qualified nurse. Even then, I was always surrounded by a loving and caring environment. In the 1960's I worked as a social worker.

"My interest in social work may have been because I lost my parents when I was still young. My mother passed away when I was only eight years old and my father passed away when I was 15,'' she said.

Ms Sovaki said when her parents died, her relatives both immediate and extended were very supportive all throughout her life in school. She said there was never a time where she felt lonely after her parents' death because she always had relatives around her to support her.

When she was eight years old, Ms Sovaki lived with one of her relative in Suva for a short period before she went back to Ovalau. She believes the experience of losing both her parents was a contributing factor to her desire to become actively involved with children in need of care and protection.

"I did a lot of probation work with orphans and juveniles. In this line of work, it is not only about giving but also taking something in it is about learning the needs of other. Social work also contributes to personal development and for me that's what it did. It helped me understand the people I work with and to appreciate them as a whole person. For me, the most memorable and happiest moment is adoption when a child is placed in a family with parents to look after them. I really enjoyed working as a social worker.

"I also work as a volunteer at Saint Christopher's Home helping the Sisters out whenever I can. It is a really good feeling knowing that I am able to help people in need. At present, I am the Coordinator of the National Committee for World Day of Prayer.

"This year's theme is 'God's wisdom provides new understanding' and this is a day where people are spiritually enriched. This World Prayer Day was prepared by Christian women of Guyana."

Ms Sovaki is the contact person in Fiji with the International Office for Christian women, most of who belong to more than seven denominations. "Many of the Christian women are from the Methodist church, some from Anglican, Catholic, Salvation Army, Gospel and John Baptist. The aim of the World Day of Prayer is to get people together ... not only Christian women but everyone. This day also enables people to build their spiritual life as well as understanding the different lifestyles of women living in different countries,'' she said.

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