By Irshad Khan
The newly formed Fiji Disaster Relief Society (FDRS) in Vancouver donated a cheque in the sum of $15,145.25 (FJ) to Habitat Humanity Fiji (HHF). Mr. Bobby Naicker, Fiji’s Honourary Consular to Canada, accepted the cheque on behalf of HHF, at the Khanna Banquet Hall in Surrey on May 3.
These funds were collected during a fundraising event held last month and will be transferred to ‘Habitat Humanity Fiji in a bid to assist those affected by the recent cyclones and flooding.
The chairperson of the Fiji Disaster Relief Society, Ms. Kamilla Singh said “in order to make it more inclusive and provide an opportunity to the community as to where the funds should be donated, a survey was conducted. The majority of the attendees at the event chose Fiji Habitat Humanity.”
Habitat for Humanity started working in Fiji in 1991. Since then, Habitat has helped over 68,700 people to build homes in Fiji. Habitat works on a range of projects throughout the country including disaster response and recovery through repairs and temporary housing when needed, construction or improvement of water and sanitation systems in rural and remote areas, and disabled access housing projects. By the end of year 2016 reporting, Habitat for Humanity Fiji has helped more than 3,140 families through disaster response, over 1,300 families in more than 45 communities through water and sanitation improvements and built over 900 new houses.
Fiji Rugby 7s legend Mr. Waisale Serevi was the guest speaker at the fundraising event and gave one of his past signed Rugby Jersey which was auctioned with the aim to boost the fund drive. Mr. Serevi who travelled from Seattle USA, with his wife spoke on the recent disaster in Fiji, and what Fijian diasporas overseas could do to help the victims in Fiji. Mr. Serevi praised the efforts of the newly formed group. A committee member of the FDSR, Mr. Petaia Usakilakeba said “the organization is very thankful to Mr. Serevi for his support and for the time he took out of his busy schedule during an ongoing 7s Rugby tournaments around the globe.”
The President of FDRS Mr. Kavin Chand said “Few months back, many of the committee members on Fiji Disaster Relief Society didn’t even know each other personally, or had met each other despite living in the same vicinity between Surrey and Vancouver, but after hearing about the two recent cyclones and flooding in Fiji and seeing the eye soaring and deeply upsetting photos online of devastated arrears in Fiji, it motivated them to come together as a group to do something for the victims in Fiji. Within a short span of time they all agreed to organize a dinner night on April 21st at the Khanna Banquet Hall in Surrey.”
Mr. Chand said, “I am truly thankful to all my committee members, and without a collaborated team work and the support from the local community, and Businesses, this wouldn’t have been possible. Due to the success of this fundraising dinner, this will not be the last one we have organized, and we will continue to assist victims in Fiji in the near future.”
The FDRS Committee would like to thank everyone who took time to come out and participate in to raise funds for the victims of Fiji. It was a great opportunity for the Fijian community living in Canada to come together to socialise and contribute for the great cause.