Burebasaga Vua na Gone Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi, Turaga na Vunivalu;
Chairman ni Bose ni Yasana – Bureonoco Vua na Vunisalevu na Tui Noco;
Tacilevu, Burenivalu Vua na Matanivanua – Lokia Koro;
Naqavoka Vua na Gone Turaga na Roko Tui Toga;
Kemuni na Qasenivuli kei Kemuni Ra-gone;
Turaga kei na Marama.
A very good afternoon to you all
My friends, I’m happy to join you all today as the Lokia community celebrates the opening of Fiji’s newest Early Childhood Education (ECE) Centre. It’s clear that the parents and community members here today share my passion for education at all stages of life, and recognise its immense value in shaping our towns, our society, and our very nation.
Through this ECE Centre, the journey of learning will start even earlier for young Fijians who are getting their start here. Who knows where that journey will take them. But one thing is for certain – the opportunities at their feet are greater than at any point in Fijian history. Now more than ever, they can choose their own path forward, create a life for themselves, and be whatever they’d like to be. It’s refreshing to see Fijians of all walks of life seeing this value, and investing in their children by supporting their dreams. This wasn’t always the case; but now –– with so many success stories of our ongoing education revolution – we have broad acknowledgement of the potential of our people and the power of learning. And it’s even more encouraging to see consensus like that of your Lokia –embodied by this ECE Centre – knowing that these very young years of a child’s life are formative in shaping their future.
Children here will develop essential life skills that they will carry with them throughout primary school, secondary school, tertiary studies, and beyond. This isn’t just about learning ABCs and 1-2-3s; it is about setting Fijian out on the right foot, and laying a foundation of knowledge that they will build upon for the rest of their lives.
And these centres are about more than empowering our young people through learning; they can empower entire communities. Mothers, in particular, are able to dedicate themselves to their own economic empowerment while their children are at school, creating a culture of independence and allowing hard-working parents to earn an income and tap into their true potential.
My friends, they say it takes a village to raise a child. Through your support of this ECE Centre, it’s clear that you are committed to that old expression, and to raising your children right. For that, I thank you. I look forward to watching this school flourish in the years ahead, and to seeing the many benefits of ECE spread throughout your young people and your communities for generations to come.
Vinaka vakalevu, and God bless.