2022 Project Story: Fiji Suva

Although Fiji is well known for its beautiful beaches and five-star resorts, 34 percent of the Fijian population lives below the poverty line. An estimated 140,000 people currently live in substandard housing conditions in informal settlements, and that number is increasing.

Poverty and inequality continue to be a problem. The rising cost of living and natural disasters have increased the vulnerability of the poor. The most at risk communities also lack piped water, adequate sanitation, electricity, and/or trash removal. This year the situation has deteriorated further due to COVID-19. Tourism contributes nearly 40 percent to Fiji’s gross domestic product, and individuals and families have been directly impacted since closing the borders.

Early childhood care and education are especially challenging issues in rural, hard-to-reach communities throughout Fiji—Especially in informal settlements where most families lack access to many social services. Young children are often unprepared in critical thinking skills and socio-emotional skills needed for formal schooling or further education.

One aspect observed to help aid children as they develop is the implementation of educational technology, which can provide opportunities for children to develop their creativity, communication skills, and enhance reasoning skills. Because 79 percent of students in Fiji schools don’t have access to the internet at home, the only place they might enjoy this opportunity is through their local schools. However, the shortage of funds in Fiji schools inhibits many from investing in suitable labs with enough computers to serve their students.

We will be working at a school near the capital of Fiji in Suva. Families in this rural community had seen the benefits of educational technology in schools with computers, and decided to work together to save up and fund a few computers for their own school. They truly believe this will help provide their children an education that will offer quality opportunities to enable them to improve their futures. Filled with hope, these parents just need a way to fund the classroom.
HumanitarianXP Builders will be constructing the long-awaited computer classroom for this school. This two room building will act as both a computer room and library and will be used in teaching all 300 students applicable computer and reading skills – an education that provides opportunity to insert themselves into the labor field as adults and provides hope for an improved standard of life.

Source: Habitat for Humanity, International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education 13, Academia