THE newly formed Fiji Disaster Relief Society (FDRS) in Vancouver donated a cheque of $15,145.25 (Fiji) [1 Fiji dollar = 0.62 Canadian dollar] to Habitat for Humanity Fiji (HHF). 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 for Humanity Fiji to assist those affected by the recent cyclones and flooding.
The Chairperson of the Fiji Disaster Relief Society, 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 Habitat for Humanity Fiji.”
Habitat for Humanity started working in Fiji in 1991. Since then, it has helped over 68,700 people to build homes in Fiji. It works on a range of projects throughout the country including disaster response and recovery through repairs as well as 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 2016, Habitat for Humanity Fiji had helped more than 3,140 families through disaster response, and over 1,300 families in more than 45 communities through water and sanitation improvements, and had built over 900 new houses.
Fiji Rugby 7s legend Waisale Serevi was the guest speaker at the fundraising event and gave one of his past signed rugby jerseys which was auctioned with the aim to boost the fund drive. Serevi, who travelled from Seattle with his wife, spoke on the recent disaster in Fiji, and what Fijian diasporas overseas could do to help the victims. Serevi praised the efforts of the newly formed group. A committee member of the FDSR, 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 ongoing Rugby 7s tournaments around the globe.”
The President of FDRS, Kavin Chand, said: “A few months ago, many of the committee members on Fiji Disaster Relief Society didn’t even know each other personally, or had never 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 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 21 at the Khanna Banquet Hall in Surrey.”
He said: “I am truly thankful to all my committee members, and without a collaborative 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 to raise funds for the victims of Fiji. It was a great opportunity for the Fijian community living in Canada to come together to socialize and contribute for the great cause.
– Written by Irshad Khan of Vancouver