Friday, May 30, 2008


Imagine living in a one bedroom house with 18 relatives to look after. Life would definitely be one of hardship and difficulty especially when there is only one breadwinner in the family.
For 32 year-old Lidia Raibevu (pictured), having a home of her own had been a figment of her imagination for the past four years.
Lidia and her husband, Waisake are part of Project 30/30 headed by non-profit Christian organisation Habitat for Humanity. The home build project involves building 30 homes in 30 weeks for 30 low income earning families.
Originally from Nabukavesi in Namosi, Lidia is third in a family of seven children.
Her late father, Avenai Waqilau worked as a clerk for Carpenters Shipping while her mother Mere was a housewife.
Lidia had always wanted to join the police force. For her, being a policewoman was inspiring, especially the fact that the duty of the police force was to help and protect people.
"We had a simple upbringing but even life then was not an easy one. We lived in Lami and life there wasn't easy especially living in town. There were a lot of expenses but my parents worked hard to provide us with a good education. We lived close to the sea and I remember my mother used to catch and sell fish for a living.
"I had a strict upbringing but it helped build my character. I had first wanted to be a policewoman because I loved the uniform they wore. I think the feeling of wanting to help others was inspiring enough and besides I grew up next to a police station."
She attended primary school at Marist Convent in Lami. From 1990 to 1994, she continued her secondary education at Cathedral. After high school, she decided to find a part time job as a waitress.
She then moved on to join Carrodocs Investment as a sales agent. Although being involved in sales and advertising, Lidia always maintained her desire to don the police uniform.
"I worked as a part time waitress for two years. I moved on to work as a sales agent for Carrodocs Investment. We sold all types of goods to different wholesale and retail companies.
The business went into bankruptcy so I joined Private Seas hotel and the Travel Inn. I worked there as a maid and receptionist.
"I still had that feeling inside to join the police force. I wanted to help people. In 2000, I was asked to be a volunteer teacher at Marist Convent Primary School. I was very happy working as a volunteer teacher for Class One students. I love children. I had a daughter when I was 19 years old and she lives with my parents. I never thought I would teach even as a volunteer. The experience was very educational and motivational."
She was also part of the Catholic Women's League, a non-government organisation which is part of the National Council for Women.
Her membership in the organisation allowed her to participate in workshops on various issues in Fiji. In 2001, she joined the police force.
She completed the required training and after months of dedication and commitment, she finally achieved her dream.
"The minute I put on the uniform, I felt my dreams had come true. I was a special constable in the force. The following year in 2002, I married my husband who is a policeman. I left the force and joined Dauniyau ni Yasana women's group as their treasurer. I resigned from that position last year and stayed home to look after my four year old son. My husband is the sole breadwinner in the family and even though times are hard, I always have faith and trust in the Lord.
"I believe I have achieved my dreams. I am happy that with the help of Habitat for Humanity, my family will have a house to call our own. The secret to achieving one's dream is to have a good education and to work hard. That is the only way up the success ladder," she said.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online