Careers

Kaukimoala’s Struggles Make Him An Expert In Youth Work

Mr Kaukimoala said the struggles that he went through have made him stronger.
22 Sep 2019 13:01
Kaukimoala’s Struggles Make Him An Expert In Youth Work
Joeli Kaukimoala (second from left) with other Pacific climate warriors.

Our struggles define who we are.

These were the words of youth worker .

Life was never easy for the 22-year-old growing up, but he thanked his mother for never giving up on him and his siblings.

Mr Kaukimoala had attended Ratu Sukuna Memorial School from 2011- 2012 for Years 9 and 10 before moving into John Wesley College from 2013- 2015 to his Years 11, 12 and 13.

He is now part of the Youth Care Street Ministry (YCSM).

YCSM is under the Salvation Army, it engages with young people who loiter around the Suva city area.

“Since its establishment, the ministry has journeyed with quite a few youths who now have moved on with life,” Mr Kaukimoala said.

“This year (2019) we were able to engage seven young people from the ages of 11- 17 years,” he said.

How it all started?

“When I grew up, youth work was never part of the plan neither do I have any interest in this field but God has other ways,” he said.

“I grew up in a small family of three with mum being the only breadwinner, life was really tough.

“Sometimes we had to budget our food rations, skipping meals become a norm and that has become our way of life through the years.

“It was through those tough moments that I found my purpose as a youth worker. This was where it all started; the urge and passion to help young people who have gone through similar situations is my calling.

“So, I started arranging meetings with the young people in the community, organise fundraising events and raise awareness on issues that are affecting the community as a whole.

“It wasn’t an easy start, there were criticisms from people but it was the passion of engagement that drove me to keep on doing what I do.”

The financial burden was one of the main challenges that Mr Kaukimoala had to go through.

“In 2016, I got myself enrolled at the Fiji National University to pursue a Diploma course in Applied Computing. I had to withdraw from the course at the beginning of trimester two due to financial restraints,” he said.

“I then pursued the youth work and community development programme at Ola Fou Pasifika in 2017.

“The Ola Fou programme is an educational initiative aimed at supporting Pacific based youth workers to develop their leadership skills and gain a professional qualification working with young people.

“It aims to empower young Pacific leaders to work for positive change in their communities. And one of the principles that the street ministry has adapted from the Ola Fou programme is the Circle of Courage model.

“This model has been our guiding tool when engaging with young people.”

Pacific climate Warriors from the around the region including Australia, New Zealand and United States America with Titular Head of Tokelau Faipule Elehi  Kelehiano Kalolo (front- middle) at the first inaugural Pacific Pawa Shift at Nasau Resort in Nadi. Photo: 350 Pacific

Pacific climate Warriors from the around the region including Australia, New Zealand and United States America with Titular Head of Tokelau Faipule Elehi
Kelehiano Kalolo (front- middle) at the first inaugural Pacific Pawa Shift at Nasau Resort in Nadi. Photo: 350 Pacific

Mr Kaukimoala is currently a volunteer for 350 Fiji as climate change is something he is passionate about.

“I was blessed to part of a Pacific Pawa Shift retreat seminar at Nasau Resort in Nadi which was organised by the Pacific Climate Warriors,” he said.

“We learned about these powerful words from our Pacific Climate Warriors in Tokelau, Matagi Malohi, which simply translates to ‘strong winds’.

“Matagi Malohi tells the story of our journey to uplift our people and shape a narrative that paints us not as victims of the climate crisis but as leaders, healers, nurturers, artists, gardeners, growers, seafarers and navigators we are.

“We are organising young people, and everyone else impacted by climate change. We are standing up for the future of our islands and for the future of our young people.

“Nowhere is the climate crisis more felt than in the low-lying islands of the Pacific, and we need everyone to stand with us.

“As part of Matagi Malohi, 350 Fiji is organising an all-day event bringing together families and friends in solidarity and it will be held on Saturday, September 21 at My Suva Park bure.

“On the day, there will be a beach clean-up, mangrove planting,  presentations, demonstrations, and performances. And there is lots of space for a picnic.”

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