Island News

They taunted Billy Boy but he carried on

Written By : SAMANTHA RINA. He is known to the community as Billy Boy. The 19-year-old has deformed feet, something he was born with. It makes him easily recognised down
06 Jun 2009 12:00

image Written By : SAMANTHA RINA. He is known to the community as Billy Boy. The 19-year-old has deformed feet, something he was born with. It makes him easily recognised down the road at the close-knit Vatukoula God Mines community.
Vili Chandar Bhan Singh had to drop out of Vatukoula Convent School at Class seven because of his disability. However, he has a positive outlook towards life because he has not let the condition affect the way he lives.
The teasing had become unbearable and he had to find an alternative to his happiness. That was when he decided to farm some space in and around Vatukoula. His neighbours and friends say he is intelligent and hardworking.
His grandfather and grandmother look after him. During Vatukoula’s major redundancy period in 2006, his grandfather lost his job, among at least a thousand miners.
He began farming and planted root crops. He also helped out with the housework. A daily routine would involve limping to the plantation, weed, plant and harvest and back
His lucky day came when Vatukoula Gold Mines GM, Bert Leathley, stopped by because he had watched him carrying large sacks of cassava from the farm. His mother sold the crop in Lautoka.
Mr Leathley had enquired about Vili during an after-work beer session at the Vatukoula Bowling Club.
“I asked a lady at the bowling club and enquired about his education level and she told me about him,” Mr Leathley said. “I thought about it and I thought how hard it must be for him with his disability.
“Everyone deserves a break in life and so I decided to help him,” he said.
Billy got a job at the company vehicle parts store. Leathley also started buying books for the young man to improve on his reading skills.
“At the moment, the primary objective is to make him a storeman so he has been given books that are relevant to the job,” he said. “I’ve also told his father that he needs to improve his reading and I do intend to continue helping him.”
“For people living with disabilities, they and any other person needs to know it’s not their fault that they’re born the way they are. They deserve opportunities and that’s what I’ve tried to give Billy,” he said. Billy says he is glad to have a job in the mine. He only started a month ago but he plans to remain at the store for the long haul. He is now the sole breadwinner at home.
“I am grateful that I now have a job to support my family,” he said, taking a step closer to a normal life.
His mind is now set on making a difference and Billy Boy can be rest assured he won’t get teases any longer.




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