Marica Rainibogi has four children and has been separated from her husband for the past seven years. At the beginning of this year, she left her children with her parents at Sigatoka and moved to Suva to pursue a Postgraduate Diploma in Eye Care offered by the Fiji School of Medicine.
Yesterday, she graduated with a postgraduate diploma and thanked her parents for looking after her children. "I am a registered nurse and work at the Sigatoka Hospital," Ms Rainibogi said.
"Towards the end of last year, I started telling my children that we would be separated this year because I would be studying here in Suva. "Just the thought of being away from them was hard to bear but I knew that this was something I would have to do."
Ms Rainibogi said she missed her children a lot but persevered because she knew the fruits of her studies would benefit her whole family. Her eldest daughter is 12 years old and the youngest is five years old. Every weekend, she would return to her parents' farm at Nabaka, Valley Road in Sigatoka to see her children.
When she told her children that she would be graduating this month, her children were ecstatic because they would become a family once again. Ms Rainibogi said she had to lead by example by being persistent in her studies and her children did the same and each one of them received awards on prize giving day.
She called on single mothers not to be disheartened by their circumstance but that they could still enjoy good lives by pursuing higher education. University of the South Pacific acting vice chancellor Dr Esther Williams, who was chief guest at the graduation, said graduation was a special time because it meant that many sleepless nights had paid off.
She said it was momentous occasion as the graduands would be celebrating a well deserved achievement after a lot of hard work and perseverance, even though the battle of life began after graduation.