Eight remain at home as students attend classes

Mereoni Adimaisau, 44, looks after her fi ve nieces and nephews with four of her own children at Vunivi settlement in Bilo, outside Lami. Picture: JONA KONATACI

As parents and caregivers prepared their children for school yesterday, eight children of a household at Bilo Rd outside Lami remained at home because of the family’s financial situation.

Mereoni Adimaisau said her husband was a fisherman but fish sales had also decreased.

The 44-year-old said they had to take in five nieces and nephews because their father was serving a long prison sentence. Their mother remarried and moved on and out of the children’s lives.

“The responsibilities doubled when my nieces and nephews moved in with us,” Ms Adimaisau said.

“I have four children of my own.

“Trying to put food on the table on a daily basis is a struggle.

“So now that school has started, we really don’t know how we will be able to cater for their lunches.”

She said sometimes her two daughters would go out fishing for the family’s dinner or lunch.

“We have tried financial assistance from Government to help my husband start a business, but the paperwork required money we do not have, so my husband just gave it up.”

She said they had a small backyard farm.

“The only assistance I receive for all my five nieces and nephews are a $50 food voucher and $126 every month from social welfare.

“This is not enough.

“Our children will return to school once the family income stabilises, even if it takes weeks or months. “For the time being they will be staying home.”

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