(on left) Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar with the children of Harland Hostel in Suva. Photo:SUPPLIED.
Government’s commitment in empowering children with special needs was indicated today through the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar who recently visited the Harland Hostel in Suva. The Hostel looks after 30 children who have hearing and speech impairment.
While visiting the Hostel earlier this week, Minister Akbar assured these children that their wellbeing is of great importance to her Ministry.
“Each one of you hold a special place in my heart, we will see how best we can look after you and this is my first visit to your hostel and definitely not the last. Each one of you here are special and you have the ability to reach your maximum potential.
“Don’t ever think that you are any different from other children, you are like my children. Please attend your classes regularly, listen to your teachers and respect your elders. We are ready to support you in achieving your goals. We will find the best way forward in providing you with opportunities to help you prosper in your lives,” Minister Akbar said.
Harland Hostel Manager, Ms Tema Toaisi thanked the Fijian Government for its commitment to the development of children with special needs.
“We have 30 children at the Hostel, most of them can’t speak and are deaf. Some attend the Gospel School for the deaf and while others attend Gospel Secondary School. The eldest one is 23 years old and she attends the vocational training school.
“The Hostel is in its 15th year of operation with the vision to assist the children with special needs. Some of the children don’t have families while others have families who live in rural and remote areas of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. At the hostel, the children are also provided with educational programs to help them excel in their studies and personal development,” Ms Toaisi said.
The Hostel looks forward to strengthened collaboration with the Ministry to address some of the challenges faced.
“We hope to renovate the facilities and also extend the hostel so we can have a spacious place for our children. We are positive that through the Minister’s visit to the hostel, we will be able to work together with the social welfare ministry to look into the welfare of these children,” Ms Toaisi said.
Minister Akbar also visited the Homes of Hope in Wailoku (Suva) and Dilkusha Girls Home in Nausori last week and assured these Homes of her Ministry’s continued commitment to the development of children in Residential Care Homes.