Thursday, July 03, 2008
Here's a photo of Lorini Tevi and a small child at the Veiqaravi Ecumenical Centre in New Town, Suva, taken when I visited there this week. New Town villagers orginally consist mainly of Solomon and Vanuatu descendants of the blackbird trade. As a result of heavy urbanisation, New Town has catered for the poor families living in the HART settlements and Housing Authority schemes. New Town is about 10 minutes away from Suva on the way to Nausori.
Back in the 1950's the Fijian colonial government shifted the Melanesian community living in Flagstaff to New Town. The Anglican Church took on the responsibility of caring for this community in Fiji. However, much of the specific needs of this community far exceeded the capacities of the Anglican Church. Hence many of these Melanesian communities spread throughout Fiji have found themselves with very little assistance from the national structures and other communities. As a result, many of the societal problems are accentuated in the Melanesian communities.
The Centre seeks to equip the under-privileged youth of the community of New Town and the greater Nasinu township with self-sustaining employment skills and a sense of civic responsibility towards their households, and the community at large.
The target group of this proposal are young adults and single mothers who have dropped out of school, chased away from their homes or come from broken homes and families, living on the streets, and most of whom come from a very poor Melanesian community in Fiji.
Most of the options available which cater for these types of children are often situated in the cities, far away from their home environment. Furthermore, these options also cater for the Indigenous Fijians which renders the situation difficult for the Melanesian kids.
Activities offered by the centre include:
• Grounds maintenance for the community
• Farming (staple crops etc…)
• Plumbing & welding
• Panel beating
• Basic mechanics
• Maintenance of vehicles
• Basic electronics
The centre would propose training sessions on these sectors in close collaboration with the Fiji Institute of Technology and other relevant national institutions.