Paula Sotutu ... teacher, diplomatic, politician and social worker
This is the kind of gentleman that Fiji needs - a man of wisdom, peace-building and integrity and also he is a person who has humility which is so important in today's Fiji.
And he comes from Vanua Levu!
(from Fiji Times today)
Committed to children
By Monika Singh
Monday, June 22, 2009
HELPING children who are not able to get a decent education has been the most important part of his life and even today, at the age of 77, Paula Sotutu's work with the disadvantaged continues. The man from Bua, who was born in Papua New Guinea to missionary parents, said he found his inspiration to help others by witnessing the faith his parents had in what they were doing.
"When I returned to Fiji I felt that God had something planned for me and for all of us and it is up to us to find that something," he said.
Being part of the Commonwealth and the International Labour Organisation and having visited many countries made Mr Sotutu realise how fortunate children in Fiji were in terms of education.
At present, Mr Sotutu is working with Social Welfare and other non-government organisations to help street kids and other families that need help. "All my life I have been helping children who cannot afford secondary education and I am happy to say that I have been successful in helping them get a good education," he said.
Mr Sotutu, who completed his teacher training from New Zealand, believes a strong family foundation is important for children to be able to live a stable life. "Street kids come from broken families and unless they have a permanent place to stay, educating them will be a difficult task." He said there was a need to strengthen the families of street kids so that they could have a firm support.
He said the most important institutions that were in a position to provide that kind of support were the religious organisations.
Mr Sotutu said he has joined an organisation that was bringing people of different religious denominations together to discuss how they could work to strengthen families so that their children are not neglected.
"The Universal Peace Federation is an inter-denomination group which is working to strengthen marriages and people's views on the institution of marriage." He said it was important for people to understand they should be committed to each other and God. If the foundation of a family was strong then the children would be safe and have a stable education and future.
"I believe that is what we want to address in Fiji for the future of street kids." Mr Sotutu said he believed God had a plan for him when he returned to Fiji as a child.
His plans involve helping the less fortunate and to help children who are not able to afford secondary education.