Education  Fiji Project #23260

Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji

by Virtues Project International Association
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Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Two attachments help describe the developments with The Virtues Project in Fiji. 

The report explains how women were trained with the virtues project
in relation to protection of the environment.
The second activity which expands the work of the virtues project was that the
annual meeting of the Asian Develpment Bank was held in Fiji. A part of the conference was
held with the Non Government Organisations and Ms Talei Areki, a Master facilitator
with Virtues Fiji attended this meeting and was able to share the work that is being done
to assist the communities to use The Virtues Project skills to manage their affairs.

The second attachment is of photographs of these activities in a word document.

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facilitators with workshop participant
facilitators with workshop participant

Virtues appear to be passive – a person is honest, truthful, helpful, caring and so on. They are used to describe how a person behaves, especially under specific conditions. A child uses ‘confidence’ to solve a problem at school or accept a challenge.

Virtues in ACTION is defined by the 5 strategies of The Virtues Project.

The facilitators for the Virtues Project in Fiji have been working with individuals and families over the quiet Christmas and holiday period. One group came together in January to study how the Virtues work in their families.

One lady told this story: Her husband was the ‘boss’ in her family and used his authority to make life difficult for her and the children. His domineering attitude came across as his being a bully, but this was ‘normal’ in their culture and the family did not question this state of affairs. After learning about the Virtues Project and the strategies this lady decided she would use these tools to help her children but she could not be sure of how her husband would react. First she explained what she had learned to her family then that she wanted to use these tools to help the family to deal with the issues they faced. To her astonishment her husband went along with the idea and as they began to use the strategies her family ‘culture’ changed and there was a peaceful and cooperative outcome for the family function. She was so excited by these changes that she shared this with other members of the group.

The facilitators have been visiting other families asking for guidance in dealing with their issues. An example of how the first strategy – speak the language of the virtues - works with discipline in action. A seven year old was asked by his mother to ‘use his obedience’ to do something she wanted done. He replied “I left is at school!”.

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Schools, other organisations and the communities are requesting training in The Virtues Project to improve the relationships between the members of the community/group. Such relationships are teacher/student, student/student, administrators/staff, staff and general public and leaders and community members. The five strategies of The Virtues Project can be applied not only within the family for which it was prepared but between all members of the communities in their various relationships. The training that is being provided by facilitators in Fiji is affecting not only the relationships but has also proven economically powerful helping people improve their businesses.

The facilitators have traveled to cities and schools since the last report explaining how the Virtues Project works. Follow up training is being organised as part of the program for 2019. Further work is being planned for the puppets to help with the training in the communities.

As part of this activity the Virtues Project Fiji received an invitation during School Annual Awards Day:

A Virtues Project Fiji facilitator was invited from one kindergarten school in Ba and a primary school in Nadi to present on “How the virtues strategies helps parents to understand their role in their children's education".

The Ministry of Education aims is to deliver to our children the highest quality education contextualize to demands of this era. Thus the Virtues program see that students need to be capable not only of constantly adapting but also constantly learning and growing, of positioning themselves in the fast changing world. This is why parental support and guidance using the 5 strategies are important and parents play vital roles in these development.

The education system in Fiji understands with technological advancement, increasing social problems, there is a need to strengthen virtues and values amongst the student as well as teachers. Values and virtues will instill discipline amongst students as well as staff and eventually improve attendance and punctuality. A culture needs to be created in the school whereby the students, teachers and parents understand each other’s values and thoughts. Being appreciative, recognizing and accepting other differences would enable one to work collaboratively with others and together meet set benchmarks.

Therefore both the schools requested to have more follow up training for the teachers, students and parents to enable them to achieve their school objective and for parents to have the skills to be able to address issues that affect their personal lives.

Thus The Virtues Project Fiji is integrated into a whole approach to education.

We had technical problems and could not get photos of the children in this story.

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puppets coming out of their box to have fun
puppets coming out of their box to have fun

The facilitators have been busy over the past three months following up with visits to more than 25 families and talking to school teachers about class room control issues.

People have been calling for advice on issues with children being absent from school, with parents only finding out their children have not been at school when attending teacher/parent days. The Virtues Project facilitators have explained the need for the parents to ask their children about this problem and listen to what the child has to say. Most children are not going to school after leaving home as if they are going to school because they are having problems with some subjects or with teachers or with bullying from other students, even teachers. One example was of a child who could not cope with maths so he did not go to school after leaving home as if he was going to school. When his parents talked to him about this after they learned of the matter they were able to talk to the teacher and get a coach to help the child understand the subject and cope with the class. Using the art of companioning from the Virtues Project strategies solved the problem and is being used by other parents when it is explained to them what they need to do when they find out their child is having problems.

Another issue that has arisen is that the police have been going to the schools and telling the children about their ‘rights’ and focusing on them reporting when they are hit or beaten by parents or teachers. The outcome is that the teachers have no control over the class as the children now consider their ‘rights’ to do what they like. No one is explaining ‘responsibilities’, and teachers do not know how to deal with the children so ‘empowered’.

Having received these reports from the teachers the Virtues facilitators will approach the police and give them some guidance about how to present the ‘rights of the child’ especially when they are beaten and abused as well as their responsibilities to obey authority when it is correctly presented such as setting clear boundaries and consequences.

In addition to the above activities the facilitators have been working with the children in their neighbourhoods during school holidays giving them activities that relate to using their virtues and understanding how to use them.

The demand for more information and training with The Virtues Project includes requests for the puppets so they will be getting out of their storage case and joining in the fun.

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Teaching the Virtues
Teaching the Virtues

Come with us to the village of Nawaqadamu which is located high up through the pine forests and past plateaus overlooking the Mamanuca Islands (a popular tourist designation) then drive another 11km inland to reach the village. While traveling in these rough terrains you have to pass 4 creeks which when flooded prevent a return until the floods have gone.. Traveling distance from Nadi town to the village is 23 km. There are more than 100 people living in this village. Most of the villager stays at a nearby sheep farming or cane farming area and only come up to the village when there is an important function held.

Virtues Project Fiji did a Virtues training for women which was held at Uto village for Uto and Nawaqadamu women’s in 2009.

The project goal was to provide parenting skills through the Virtues Project aimed at building Family Unity for the communities in the Ba Province.

At that time the villages were untidy, depressing places to live and people had no self respect. The two villages had a kindergarten which always ran at their village hall or a house. There was a primary school located between the two villages to cater for students in these villageas well as provide boarding for students from other more remote villages. Once their children past their class 8 exams their moved to town to stay with relatives so that they can pursue their secondary education.

Many children dropped out of school due to students peer pressure and teenage pregnancies. Children were facing difficulties with their education due to lack of support from home and also homesick when staying with relatives who were not very supportive. Only one person had reached tertiary education from these communities.

The village’s source of income was cane farming, cassava and freshwater mussels and prawns which were sold at the Nadi Market.

Nine years later in 2018

Many positive changes had taken place as the result of the parenting training which was done 9 years ago. The village of Nawaqadamu had increased its populationfrom 38 to70 households

The women in Nawaqadamu and Uto villages had made significant contributions in their village development. Nawaqadamu now have a shop which was operated by the youth who went on to find employment so the women’s group now runs the shop. The women have other income generating projects to support them individually which which includes a canteen, sewing and handcrafts which they sell to tourist.

In October, 2014 the villages opened Buruwa kindergarten to offer quality early childhood education to the children of Vagadra, Namoli, Buruwa and Nawaqadamu.

They have a new secondary school which was open in February, 2016. The Nasesevia Junior Secondary School serves four villages – Nawaqadamu, Uto, Vunamoli and Vagadra as well as the two settlements of Loqi and Rada.

The mothers agree that now they can enjoy quality time with their children and encourage them to work hard in school and secure a better future for themselves.

The Nawaqadamu villages have one registered service carrier to transport children to school every day.

There are increasing numbers of children attending higher education at the university and some have graduated and are working as bank officers, nurse, police officers, hotel workers and in business.

Showing the 5 strategies
Showing the 5 strategies
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Organization Information

Virtues Project International Association

Location: Calgary, AB - Canada
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @VirtuesProject
Project Leader:
Verona Lucas
Calgary, AB Canada
$25,974 raised of $30,000 goal
592 donations
$4,026 to go
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