By Ben Bilua of Wansolwara News
Solomon Islands students studying at universities in Fiji have braved the rain to donate food, clothing and cash to 18 families who were badly affected by last month’s Tropical Cyclone Harold.
Solomon Islands Students Association (SISA) president Peter Maclean and Solomon Islands Education Attaché to Fiji Francis Tavava led the relief distribution programme this week with the help of an officer from the Fiji National Disaster Management Office.
Tavava said Solomon Islands students were honoured to be given the opportunity to reach out to the victims of the cyclone that devastated parts of Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu for almost two weeks.
“We know that Fiji government has taken care of us over the past months, during the peak of covid-19 and TC Harold and we want to assist in a small way to give back to the people and government of Fiji for being good to us,” he said.
Tavava said the donation was made possible through the contributions from Solomon Islands students when the call was made after TC Harold.
NDMO Central branch district officer Vatia Vasuca said the government and operational centres had been working tirelessly to help TC Harold victims restore their lives and move forward.
He told the SISA disaster relief distribution team that the donation contributed well towards the government’s ongoing relief programme effort.
‘Assistance a bonus’
“Your assistance is a bonus to our ongoing effort and ambition to help the families get back on their lives and move forward,” he said.
Student leader Maclean said the damage caused by TC Harold was immense and the students were pleased to be able to visit affected families.
He said the visit was a memory students from the Solomon Islands would cherish.
“I must acknowledge the students who came up with the idea to raise funds and help our host government and its people who gave us an opportunity to come and study here,” he said.
“During each presentation it was mentioned to each affected families by the NMDO team leader that these were the humble donations from SISA. The term ‘Solomon Islands’ was consistently used and it was moving to see how respective families were so emotional to receive their necessities.
“This shows that the great value of kindness, respect and compassion of Melanesianhood is still in the hearts of our students,” Maclean said.
“My humble acknowledgement goes to all parents, families, people, leaders, mentors and communities back in Solomon Islands for positively nurturing these respective SISA students to be noble thinkers and actors.”
Ben Bilua is a final-year Solomon Islands journalism student at the University of the South Pacific’s Laucala campus in Suva, Fiji. He is also the online student editor of Wansolwara, USP Journalism’s student training newspaper and online publications.