The Fijian Government’s commitment to older persons and persons living with disabilities is highlighted under Fiji’s 2013 Constitution which provides for a wide range of socio-economic rights. These rights include rights to education, access to health care, housing and sanitation, reasonable access to transportation, food security and safe water, and social security schemes. In ensuring that these rights are upheld in every possible aspect, the Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and Australia Pacific Training Coalition has been facilitating a Community Training for Family Caregivers; the most recent being a week long training in Yasawa this week.
About seventy community volunteers from the Nacula District in Yasawa will benefit from this training. The two-day workshop, which began yesterday is aimed at providing family care givers in the community with the proper caring skills and knowledge, to ensure that they can provide the best care for the elderly and those living with disabilities in their communities. The workshop is jointly conducted by the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) and the Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, and is part of an ongoing partnership between APTC and the Ministry to improve the quality of Age Care Services in Fiji. APTC is a flagship program of the Australian Government that provides internationally recognized technical skills and qualifications for a wide range of vocational careers for skilled workers, including Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community).
APTC CEO, Ms Soli Middleby, said this initiative is part of APTC’s ongoing efforts to work in partnership with national and regional stakeholders to trial new approaches to skills development for the benefit of Pacific communities. “Achieving Pacific prosperity means working together and importantly, ensuring that no one is left behind as communities develop the skills they need for a sustainable future,” she added.
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon Mereseini Vuniwaqa said the training recognised the need to empower communities and build their capacity to look after their loved ones who will need special care and support. Hon. Vuniwaqa says the training will provide a better understanding on the challenges faced by community caregivers and the sharing of best practices that will aid community and family caregiving. “Fiji’s National Development Plan, with the vision of ‘Transforming Fiji’, ensures that through inclusive development, no one should be left behind, regardless of geographical location, gender, ethnicity, physical and intellectual abilities, and this training ensures that it covers this area” she added.
The Gone Turaga na Tui Drola, Ratu Manasa Naikasowalu thanked the Ministry and APTC for bringing this training to the people of Nacula. He said that he will take the lead role to provide programmes and activities that will help the elderly in the community. “We thank Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa for fulfilling the promise she made last year when she visited our communities, and for sending her team to conduct this much needed training,” Ratu Naikasowalu added.