Three children were today bestowed with the Fiji Children’s Award 2014 for their contribution to their communities and for being a great example to all other children in the country.
While presenting the awards to Rohit Sam Kumar, Adi Ema Tuidriva and Mohammed Faruk Khan in Suva this morning, His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau commended them for their leadership, initiative, vision and the courage to make things happen for the better.
Ratu Epeli also thanked Vision Fiji, a non-government organisation, for introducing the awards three years ago and focusing on children’s future development as caring and responsible citizens.
“Children are the nation’s future. The nation has a collective responsibility to help in every way it can with the development of our children. We must inculcate in children the values of honesty, respect, responsibility, hard work, fairness, caring, civic virtue and good citizenship,” Ratu Epeli said.
Ratu Epeli said the Fijian government is already leading the way in caring for the wellbeing of the children of Fiji.
“Government has strengthened the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation with the mandate to be the focal point for all efforts to look after the interests of our children,” Ratu Epeli said.
“The ministry is working closely with both local and international bodies like the United Nations to ensure that Fiji provides all the basic services for our children in accordance with the constitution and with international conventions.”
“We must all now join hands to help build a bright and sustainable future for Fiji’s children. It is in this respect that I pay tribute to Vision Fiji and to all other non-governmental organisations that are already working in the interests of children,” he added.
Rohit Sam Kumar, 17, who endured a challenging home situation as a young child, has been living with other children from similar circumstances for a decade.
After receiving his award, the Jai Narayan College student said he is thankful to be given opportunities to grow and be empowered.
“I always encourage my friends and my schoolmates to contribute to their country and get involved in their personal development. I think there is more to education than just schooling. I like to participate in sports and social activities and encourage others to do the same,” Mr Kumar said.
Mr Kumar, a brilliant and diligent student, has become a good companion for Sujit Kumar, who is a physically challenged young man.
Mr Kumar’s mother, 43-year-old Anita Devi of Nadi said she is proud of her son’s achievements.
“I want a good and secure life for my child and I am glad that he is a role model to other children. Life is full of struggles but Rohit is doing well for himself. I am grateful to the people at Happy Home for taking care of my son and supporting him,” Mrs Devi said.
The Fiji Children’s Award by Vision Fiji is held in November to commemorate United Nations World Children’s Day.