This was funded by an increased donation of $25,000 from Bank of South Pacific to support Fiji's less fortunate children, including those impacted by COVID-19.
BSP Fiji Country Head, Mr Haroon Ali, reinforced BSP's commitment to Community & Vanua, especially during these tough times. "As resilient Fijians embrace the new "new normal" environment, at BSP, we will continue to focus our support for education as a way to break the cycle of poverty and safeguard our nation's future growth," he said. "Quality education for today's needy children will equip them to overcome their social and economic disadvantages to prepare them for an economically useful adult life. In fact, they will have a higher likelihood of ending the cycle of poverty in their households and communities."
Each pack contains a school bag, exercise books, folders, stationery, calculators and mathematical sets (where needed) as per FENC Fiji's sponsorship criteria.
According to FENC Fiji, over 18% of Fiji's children aged 5 - 14 years do not attend school. More than 51% of those completing primary school do not have the opportunity to attend secondary school.
FENC Fiji, National Coordinator, Miss Priya Lata confirmed that BSP's donation has assisted children in schools within the West, North and Central/Eastern divisions and she thanked Fiji's leading Bank for being one of their longest serving Partners. "Since 2010, BSP has been a key contributor enabling us to continue serving Fiji's poorest of poor children and this year, we also included COVID-19 and Cyclone impacted students. Our thorough screening process, ongoing monitoring and evaluation, together with Community Support, has empowered thousands of students over the years to walk out of poverty and save their loved ones in the process."
BSP acknowledged the lead role taken by the Government of Fiji to provide access to quality education for all students in Fiji and went on to call for more private sector support for this matter of national importance. "As a socially responsible Bank, we are honoured to offer our services that go beyond banking and into remote locations that is also home to Fiji's social or economically marginalized," Mr Ali added.
Over the years, BSP has also funded the installation of solar power and water tanks in schools including assistance in the renovation and construction of several school infrastructure as part of its long standing Branch Community Project Program.
BSP has been donating to FENC Fiji since 2010 as part of its' Annual Corporate Social Responsibility Program with over 2600 students assisted to date.