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Tobu Youth Dream Project Takes Off

Tobu Youth Dream Project Takes Off
Vodafone ATH Foundation executive Ambalika Devi Prakash with Tobu Villagers. Photo: Vodafone ATH Foundation
January 05
11:06 2018

An entertainment centre in a rural Ra Province village has been set up to prevent youths from drifting to urban areas and causing social problems.

And, thanks to a $2500 grant from Vodafone ATH Foundation, the ambitious project has begun generating income.

The grant is part of a $12million fund distributed nationwide for similar purposes.

The entertainment centre is located at Tobu Village, along the Ra-Tailevu province border, a one-hour drive from Rakiraki Town. The youths are part of a population of 157 in Tobu Village.

The viability of the project has pleased foundation executive Ambalika Devi Prakash.

“It is a project for the youth and by the youth,”said Ms Prakash of the project which took off last month without hassles, and now gaining the respect of village elders and women.

“We encouraged the youths to go alone and avoid involvement of the elders, who sometimes in the village setting act as consultants,” she said.

For starters, the centre now has a billiard table,  carom board (vidividi), which are operated by slot machines. There are plans to introduce other equipment that can boost the youth club’s revenue.

So far the club has raised $150 in the short time since its recent opening.

Ms Prakash lauded the youth club for its initiative of using local building materials of wood and bamboo.

“Consequently, they have saved some money which can be used for other purposes,” Ms Prakash said.

Turaganikoro or village headman Joseva Rateri said: ‘We don’t want our youths to go into town to get entertained and spend money. Better their money is circulated within the village. This way the youths are in front of our eyes and, we can guide them.”

Mr Rateri said capacity building of young men and women in the village was on-going.

The youths have also embarked on hygiene and sanitation projects, including the construction of a toilet at the centre.

For the future, the club aims to provide water and electricity to the nearby community hall.

Mr Rateri admits they must work hard and raise funds for these additional projects.

The foundation is prepared to back the club all the way.

Said Ms Prakash: ‘’We just can’t  just do income generation projects and not stay healthy.

  We want the projects to be sustainable and this can be achieved through concerted efforts and consistency.

“A  lot of people are getting sick around the villages and we challenge the youth and women’s groups to steer  people away from that pain.

“This can be done through small steps, like eating from farms, not consuming too much salted and sugar foods and also exercise and play games.”

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

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