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Caritas Australia

Multimedia News Release: The People's Network Empowering Fiji's Landless

The People's Network Empowering Fiji's Landless

Caritas Australia is supporting and empowering Fijians who live in informal settlements. Through the People's Community Network (PCN), Caritas is advocating successfully for rights, services, and a more secure future for the residents of these settlements.

For those who live in informal settlements, access to the most basic of rights - land tenure, housing, sanitation, roads, education, and a secure livelihood, is limited. 

For broadcast quality footage and high-res images, please see the Multimedia News Release:

"People in informal settlements have been living there for quite some time. So they start to believe that they are nobody, that they have no rights," says Semiti, the National Director of PCN.

But now their voices are linked in powerful chorus through a country-wide network, PCN. Supported by Caritas Australia since 2009, PCN brings together informal settlements, enabling them to advocate to improve their access to education, housing and employment.

Semiti, who grew up in an informal settlement himself, knows first-hand the challenges of living without land tenure.

"One thing that my past taught me is to give back to the community what I have learned. And to try and lift them up from their impoverished situation," Semiti says. 

"I always tell them: I was once in your shoes. I was once a squatter, like you. I was once someone who had nothing."

Semiti speaks of the importance his work has to empower belief and self-esteem in community members of informal settlements.

"Our main role is to empower them so that they can believe in themselves, and move out of that situation." 

The program develops the understanding of shared goals by community members, and helps them stand up with more confidence for their rights as citizens. For Savu, a PCN staff member, the work of the settlements is to carry out workshops on community empowerment, social analysis and economic literacy.

"These three workshops are the big changers. They change mindset – they change relationships, and build relationships for people to become change agents in their communities," Savu says.

PCN has empowered community members to better manage their finances. 

"PCN has also established savings groups across Fiji, with women in leadership roles," Savu said.

"These groups encourage people in the community to make weekly savings so they can access education, healthcare and housing."

Please donate to Project Compassion 2017 and help communities in informal settlements in Fiji to work together for a brighter future. 
Caritas Australia media contact:
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