Ladies and Gentlemen
I am deeply honored and privileged to stand before you today, not only as the wife of the Prime Minister of Fiji but also as a former teacher and mother to our children.
I understand this Ball is the culmination of a three-days event that began with your Annual General Meeting on Thursday and sports that came to an end later today.
As we gather here under the theme, “Strong Women, Strong Families, Strong Communities,” it reminds us about the vital role you play in the success and well-being of our beloved Fiji.
This theme is not just a collection of words but a reflection of the very essence of our society and the vital role that women play in shaping our nation’s destiny.
Your role as military wives is unique, and it comes with its own set of challenges, sacrifices, and responsibilities.
As the spouse of the former Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces I am deeply grateful for the support and dedication you provide to our nation.
The strength of a nation is, in many ways, a reflection of the strength of its women, its families, and its communities.
When we talk about strong women, we’re not only referring to physical strength but also the strength of character, resilience, and determination.
In the military community, strength often means enduring separations from our loved ones, supporting our partners through challenging deployments, and maintaining our households amidst the demands of our unique lifestyle.
As military wives, you embody strength daily. You are the pillars of your families, holding them together during trying times.
You shoulder responsibilities, and you do so with grace and unwavering commitment. Your strength is not just individual but collective, as you stand united in your shared experiences.
You are the unsung heroes, the backbone of support, and the driving force behind your loved ones in service.
Your strength lies not only in your resilience but also in your ability to adapt to the challenges that military life presents.
Your role as military wives is to ensure your families remain resilient despite the uncertainties that come with military life.
The unique challenges of military life often require families to be more adaptable, more patient, and more supportive than ever before.
You provide your children with a safe and nurturing environment, fostering their growth and development even in the face of challenges.
You will need to maintain open lines of communication with your partners, ensuring that your bond remains strong no matter the distance. Strong families are the bedrock of any strong nation.
In our communities, you also play a vital role in promoting understanding and unity among diverse backgrounds and cultures.
Military wives are not just individuals living in isolation but integral members of a broader military community.
Our military families are not isolated islands; they are integral parts of our broader communities.
I understand what it means to support one another, sharing our experiences, lending a helping hand when needed, and creating a network of trust and friendship that extends far beyond our immediate families.
The support networks you have built within your neighborhoods, schools, and local organizations are crucial in ensuring that no one feels alone or left behind.
Your willingness to reach out and lend a helping hand to fellow military families, as well as the communities at large, fosters a sense of belonging and unity that is invaluable.
Fiji’s strength lies in its people, and you, the military wives, are an essential part of that strength.
As we look towards a stronger nation, let us remember that it is not just the responsibility of our armed forces but of every citizen, every family, and every community to contribute to our collective well-being.
As we nurture strong families, and contribute to robust communities, we are actively working towards a stronger Fiji.
Our nation’s strength lies in the collective efforts of its citizens, and each one of us plays a crucial part in shaping its future. Together, we can inspire positive change in our society.
We can advocate for the needs of military families, promote mental health awareness, and empower our youth to reach their full potential.
Before I conclude, I want to share with you a few important values.
I want to emphasize the importance of confidentiality in the life of a military wife.
In a world where information is constantly shared and discussed, you often find yourselves in a unique position of knowing sensitive details about your spouse’s work. It is a responsibility that should never be taken lightly.
Your ability to maintain confidentiality is not only a testament to your integrity but also a crucial element in ensuring the safety and security of our nation.
The trust placed in you by your partners is a reflection of the trust that the entire nation places in our military forces. Your discretion is not just admirable; it’s essential.
The role of a military wife extends far beyond the home.
The demands of military life often mean extended periods of separation, deployments to distant lands, and the inherent risks that come with the profession.
During these challenging times, it is you who provide the anchor, the comfort, and the love that sustain our servicemen. Your role as the heart and soul of your families is immeasurable.
The bonds you forge with fellow military wives create a support system that is second to none.
Long after my husband retired from service, I maintained life-long friendships with other military spouses who were our neighbours in camp and grew to become an integral part of our family. Through our shared experiences, we provided a lifeline for one another in times of joy and sorrow.
For those of you who are also working while managing the demands of military life, your dedication is truly commendable. Balancing family and career is a juggling act that requires resilience and adaptability and I understand that all too well.
It’s about finding that delicate equilibrium between being a loving spouse, a caring parent, and a dedicated professional. I want to acknowledge the strength it takes to navigate these diverse roles and responsibilities.
Your ability to excel in your chosen fields while also being the backbone of your family is nothing short of remarkable.
I want to also remind us that in the not-so-distant future, your community of wives may have to gradually include the spouses of women officers. Let us be mindful of how our military continues to evolve and I encourage you to embrace those changes.
In closing, I want to express my profound gratitude for the sacrifices you make, the strength you exhibit, and the unwavering support you provide to our servicemen.
Thank you for the holiday classes that you continue to support for military children, your hospital visits, the simple act of changing curtains at your husbands’ place of work, visiting the sick, and organizing the reception parties for spouses returning from peacekeeping duties.
As we continue this journey together, let us remember that our strength as women, as families, and as communities, contribute to a stronger Fiji.
Thank you, and may our nation continue to thrive on the foundation of your strength and resilience.