Fiji children ‘abandoned, forgotten’ by overseas workers, says counsellor

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Fiji childcare consultant Marica Tabualevu . . . calls for greater absent parent accountability. Image: Fiji AHB DB/The Fiji Times

By Elena Vucukula in Suva

Children are abandoned and forgotten when a large number of Fijians leave the country for work and start new relationships abroad.

Consultant Marica Tabualevu of the Fiji-Australian Humanitarian Partnership has called for measures that would hold people responsible or accountable for forgotten children.

She said adults who engaged in such behaviour forgot they had children “left behind with no income or very little parental support” just because they did not want their partner anymore.

Tabualevu told a public consultation in Suva last Friday discussing a draft of the Child Care and Protection Bill and Child Justice Bill 2023 that too many children were being “abandoned”.

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre’s senior counsellor advocate and community educator Ilisapeci Veibuli also called on the Fiji government to ensure there was sufficient budget to support the draft law as implementation and enforcement were important.

In a separate event, the NGO Empower Pacific said that last year more than 1040 children were counselled with the bulk of them suffering from depression.

Elena Vucukula is a Fiji Times reporter. Republished with permission.

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