In November I headed to Fiji to volunteer in a Youth Empowerment Project with Think Pacific. I spent 10 days living with a local family in a Fijian village to deliver educational workshops and learn about the culture.
Think Pacific is both a social enterprise and registered Fijian Charity who deliver volunteer projects that work in direct partnership with the Fijian Government, as well as supporting Fiji’s National Development plan.
It is an impactful initiative in itself as well as a funding initiative. For example, the money from my groups project fee’s was given to the village and invested into solar powered street lights.
Our time during the project was focused on the delivery of morning workshops to those aged 18-35 and the session topics included:
- Public Health
- Mental Health
- Business + Enterprise
- Sports Development
We also spent our afternoons being taught about the culture and way of life in Fiji from the youth. These sessions included farming, weaving, cooking Lovo (underground oven) and Meke (traditional dance).
On my first night in the village I gave gifts to my host family which included eco friendly notebooks and pens as well as bamboo biodegradable toothbrushes from our partner BambuuBrush, these items were all donated by Chevin.
There were 3 children in my household including Mitchi (6) Meme (4) and Mila (2) and they were over the moon with their gifts. They spent hours drawing each night, and I taught them games such as noughts and crosses and hangman. Mitchi also decided to show off his skills by writing down the alphabet and every number from 1-100!
Their mother Laisani shared that it is the family’s responsibility to buy the children’s school supplies, and that she had never seen her son write the alphabet before, as they simply didn’t have any equipment at home.
This is something that highlighted to me the impact that a seemingly simple gift can have on those with fewer resources.
My time in Fiji was incredibly eye opening and I made memories that will last a lifetime. And it is thanks to Chevin’s support and allowing flexibility in my work schedule that meant this experience was able to happen!