Fiji stories, Labasa, South Pacific culture, family, migration, Australia/Fiji relationship
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Plan for a hostel for Labasa
This sounds like an excellent idea. Is St Mary's Hostel still going? For many, many years the Anglican Church in Labasa had a hostel for girls in Labasa. No, it was closed two years ago.
Group to build hostel
Thursday, April 27, 2017
THE women's wing of the Macuata Methodist Church circuit plans to construct a girl's hostel that will house female students schooling in Labasa Town soon.
Women's wing president Kelera Tuiwanikai said the hostel would host students within the circuit from Cikobia Island extending to Dreketi in Vanua Levu.
Ms Tuiwainikai said most times, female students from these interior areas had to live with their relatives.
"The women's wing has already managed to collect $24,000 from our soli and we are to decide on other issues regarding the plan," she said.
"In line with Government's focus of developing the North, we found it ideal to construct a hostel for our female students in the circuit.
"We understand that the Fiji National University and other tertiary institutions, including colleges will be brought to Labasa soon and the hostel will complement such developments, providing students with a place to stay in."
Ms Tuiwainikai said they were yet to identify a suitable piece of land for the planned home.
"We had earlier selected one but it was under an agricultural lease so we are looking around again," she said.
"The project is for a worthy cause and the fact that we would be opening doorways for children within the circuit in future is something that we are proud of.
"There are 19 circuits within the Macuata circuit and each circuit raises $200 annually for the cause and the general administration of the women's wing."
St Mary's Hostel in Labasa was closed two years ago.
Father Gerald Billings outside the St Mary's hostel which has been closed in Labasa. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA
THE Anglican church has closed its St Mary's hostel in Labasa as deteriorating condition poses risks to the safety of boarders.
The closure means that girls from rural areas who depend on the hostel for accommodation will have to look elsewhere come the new school term.
Church parish priest Father Gerald Billings said they made the toughest decision but was best for all.
"With pressing realities and demands that have now emerged, the Anglican Church of the Diocese of Polynesia had to make an urgent and hard pressing decision on the future of St Mary's hostel," he said.
"The church cannot guarantee the safety of all those under our care and thus the sensible need to take precautionary approach.
"This is a big factor in the closure of the hostel and another reality is the escalating cost of running St Mary's hostel which is now beyond our means."
Mr Billings said the Diocese through special funds had helped keep the hostel afloat.
"However, after two years, the sheer amount needed has brought realisation that the church cannot afford to sustain it any longer," he said.
"There is also a clear decline in the number of girls coming forward to the hostel."
Over the past years, the Ministry of Labour had also issued OHS notices to the hostel board even notices of closure. Mr Billings said the board met last month and decided to close the hostel.
"The first reality is the difficulty in ensuring a safe place to take care of young women. There are possible fire hazards within an aged building and we cannot risk fire from faulty electrical wiring or any other means," he said.
"We used to have 100 boarders and the number dropped to around 30.
"Parents in rural areas have also been buying affordable houses in the outskirts of Labasa and their children have also moved there instead."
Babasiga (pronounced bambasinga) is the dry land of Macuata in northern Fiji - our place in the sun in Fiji. Peceli is from Fiji from the village is Vatuadova and the beach is Nukutatava. Peceli Ratawa passed away on 27th December 2015 so this is Wendy's blog now. Wendy is an Australian and today live in Geelong, Australia.