Bulavinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.
I’m delighted to be with you all today to officially open the WOWS Kids Fiji Resource Centre – a wonderful initiative to improve the lives of our precious young Fijians living with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
I’ve just come from a highly inspirational and emotional event where we righted a historical wrong done to some of our oldest Fijians – victims of the Christmas Island nuclear explosions in the late 1950s. Yet within the space of just a couple hours, I am honoured to be the official guest at another hugely inspirational and moving occasion.
Nothing affects every Fijian more than the suffering and courage of the children here, who are facing such terrible illnesses. And every Fijian sends their love and support on this very special day in the lives of you children and the lives of all of us.
WOWS Kids Fiji was set up to complement the treatment that children are receiving from the pediatric oncology services in our hospitals.
But most important of all, it helps care for our children as they face their extraordinary battle through reading material, wheelchairs, items of daily need like toiletries, and access to counselling and home visits by medical staff.
And it does everything it can to help these wonderful young people enjoy their precious moments of living – whether it is watching a movie, learning an art or a craft, learning to dance, or anything else children take pleasure in.
This resource centre gives WOWS Kids Fiji a proper base for a range of activities to support everyone catering for these children’s needs.
There is only one message I have for you all today. In my New Year’s address, I again called on every Fijian to care for each other, to love one another, to extend a helping hand to those among us who need it most.
No one else in Fiji needs that helping hand more than the children who will benefit from this centre. So I urge you all to love them, to care for them, to do everything humanly possible to make their days more satisfying and enjoyable. And to work collectively to do whatever we can to give them the best possible chance to beat their illnesses.
I commend the work being done by the WOWS Kids Foundation and urge it – and other organisations like it – to always practice good governance and conduct its affairs with transparency and accountability. We must give our children the best we can afford. And we can only do our jobs properly if we all conduct ourselves with the highest standards of propriety.
Whether it is Government or private donors, we all expect our contributions to be well spent and be used entirely for the purposes for which they are intended.
I know this is just the start of a plan to roll out similar services for our children in the Western and Northern Divisions. And I wish you all the very best in your endeavours.
I want to say to every child in this place: You need never feel that you are alone. You need never feel despair. Because in this fight of your lives, every Fijian is with you.
Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.