Refusing to be limited

Sekaia Vatucicila and Minesh Kumar pictured at FRIEND Fiji headquarters in Tuvu, Lautoka. Photo: ANA SOVA.


Having a disability is definitely difficult, but it’s also one of the richest classrooms a human can experience, too.

A true testimony of the lives of speech and hearing impaired, Minesh Kumar and Sekaia Vatucicila who are currently employed with Foundation of Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development’s (FRIEND) Fiji in Tuvu, Lautoka.

Refusing to be limited by their disability, the duo’s potential shines through their creativity, together they are responsible in the production of artistic greeting cards by FRIEND that are sold to selected business outlets throughout the country.

Mr. Vatucicila, a former cane cutter from Rakiraki is now a brilliant paper maker with the non-government organisation.

The 45 year old is skilled in creating paper out of banana stalk, kava residue (kosa) and even ginger plant.

With a steady income, the Mataso villager from Ra is able to support his wife, Kalesi and his four children.

Paper made BY Mr. Vatucicila is then used by Mr. Kumar to make creative greeting cards.

Mr. Kumar who lives in Lovu, Lautoka said he can make about 10 cards in a day.

At 27, he hasn’t considered any other work and said after being employed with FRIEND for the past six years there is no better place for him to be.

“I like it here”.

FRIEND’s Associate Director, Dr. Jone Hawea said because NGOs relied heavily on donors, this was part of their initiative helping them become self-sufficient.

Dr. Hawea said the Motibhai Group is distributing the cards to a lot of local outlets, including Morris Hedstrom (MH) and New World supermarkets, and Prouds outlets.