Disabled woman defies all odd, establishes preschool

Paulini Waqaniboro inside the new preschool at Bouma squatter settlement in Labasa. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

DESPITE her disability, the passion to educate children of her disadvantaged community has overcome all obstacles, resulting in the opening of a new preschool.

Paulini Waqaniboro, a former Labasa Town mayor and councillor, who lost her left leg last year, has never been deterred by her situation.

Two weeks ago, she officially achieved her dream and opened the newly-established Northern iTaukei Community School of Nine.

In fact, she believes that educating the children of Bouma squatter settlement in Labasa will change the future of many families who are just able to make ends meet.

“This has always been my dream, to have a preschool for these children because most families here don’t have permanent jobs, but have come from villages for the sake of educating their children. So they don’t earn good money, except rely on casual jobs,” she said.

“We live across the river from town, but don’t have boats to make our travelling to town easier for our children so like everyone else, they need to catch the bus. But for their own safety, we thought of having this kindy near to them.

“These children don’t have to travel to town to attend preschool but can just walk to this newly established one.”

Ms Waqaniboro said it took her about three years to prepare the plan and documents for the preschool.

“It was not easy preparing everything, but I didn’t want to lose hope and my desire to have our children educated drove me to great lengths,” she said.

“I was blessed to have been assisted by the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Education and international donors, mostly family members who helped to equip this centre. We have started with nine students from this area and we know that good things are ahead of us.”

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