The JP Bayly Trust Sponsor a Family Programme

In early June of this year in a talanoa and catch up session with a former cricket mate now living in Adelaide, Australia, discussion centered on the fact that many Fijian families are facing severe and unprecedented hardship due to the economic fallout caused by the Covid 19 pandemic.

We spoke about the thousands of jobs lost over the past year in our dominant tourism sector and all its ancillary industries, We recalled of the many others fortunate to still have some work, but on reduced hours or reduced pay.  Many of the job losses were those of sole family breadwinners.

There are many instances as well where both partners within the family lost their jobs.  A second wave of COVID 19 positive cases Fiji is currently facing, and consequent lockdowns, has impacted most other industries and businesses and resulted in further job cut backs with many small businesses simply unable to continue operating.

The result of all this is that poverty levels in Fiji are at their highest and we do not see much improvement until our battle with the Pandemic is won and our economy bounces back. In our talanoa my mate and I agreed that we did not see this happening until the new year at the earliest.

Then our discussion got more interesting as we asked ourselves what can we do about this, in addition to the normal welfare support at the Bayly Trust? We heard that there were many former Fiji residents in Australia and New Zealand and other countries, who would be more than willing to help in some way. Many were already assisting in one form or another. The challenge was to mobilise this goodwill. Fortunately the Bayly Trust has some super friends in these countries to drive the donor search (my former cricket mate being one of them).

And so was born the idea of bringing together willing friends of Fiji to “sponsor a family”, using the JP Bayly Trust as the conduit to deliver the support. The initiative is not a “once off” handout to identified families, but one that will provide them with food and vanity packs over six months. This would ensure some relief and stability for the family over this period.

There are three levels of sponsorship from which the donor can choose in ascending order of value: a single pack (1-2 people); double pack (2-4 people); and family pack (5+ people). Each sponsor is assigned a family and would receive regular updates from our staff on how they are faring.

It is so pleasing to note that just one week after the 11th June 2021 launch of the Programme the Trust has already received sponsorship commitments to cover 50 families.

On behalf of the Trust we would like to sincerely thank our overseas “catalysts” for their ideas and immense contributions in driving the programme from their end. A big vinaka vakalevu Jalal Dean (Adelaide), Atma Maharaj (Brisbane) and Nek Mohammed (New Zealand)! Our immense gratitude, as well, to sponsors and friends of Fiji who have already come in to support the initiative.

Should anyone reading this also like to be a part of the “Sponsor a Family Pogramme”, or if you want more information, please contact Ms Joshika Lata at email: actgm@baylytrust.org.


Contributed by Trustee Barry Whiteside