Fantastic 5

Kinisimere Babasiga, 13, risked her own life to save a physically disabled mother and her three-year-old daughter during the height of Cyclone Winston. The full story of that dramatic act
22 Nov 2016 11:00
Fantastic 5
Fiji Children's Award recipients with parents and nominators during the Fiji Children's Award ceremony yesterday.Photo:Vilimoni Vaganalau

Kinisimere Babasiga, 13, risked her own life to save a physically disabled mother and her three-year-old daughter during the height of Cyclone Winston.

The full story of that dramatic act of courage and compassion was told publicly for the first time yesterday.

It was included in her citation as one of the  five  who won the Fiji Children’s Award 2016.

She was nominated by her teacher, Peniana Baleiverata.

Vision Fiji, a volunteer organisation that advocates for childrn in Fiji, organised the awards.

It seeks unsung heroes among our children – young people who provide extraordinary service to their families or communities, but remain unrecognised.

Kinisimere is from Delaikuku, Namena, Tailevu, is a model student and prefect, at Lawaki District School, Tailevu.

The other four are:

ν Rhea S Kumar, 13, student of St Joan of Arc School, Sigatoka. She was nominated by her teacher, Joseva Bola.

ν Ezra Pickering, 16, is the only boy in the group and a student of Xavier College in Ba. He was nominated by his teacher, Jannelle Muller.

ν Reenal Restika Devi, 14, of Labasa. She is a student of Valelawa Primary School and nominated by a Sonika Kumar.

ν Tamarisi Nailasekula, 13, of Qelekuro Village, Tailevu. She is a student of Lawaki District School and nominated by her teacher, Peniana Baleiverata.

The fantastic five have made their families proud.

Kinisimere Babasiga

Kinisimere’s home and other homes in her villages were blown away by Cyclone Winston. While running to stay safety, she noticed a physically disabled mother and her child missing.

She went back and found them wedged between the debris. As the child cried she worked according to instructions from the mother and freed the child and took her to safety. Then she came back for the mother and rescued her.

Today she lives with her grandparents and the mother and her child.

Her grandmother who was present at the awards presentation, Salote Nailolo, could not stop her tears after Kinisimere was given the award.

She said “I believe in her and I knew she could do it.”

Tamarisi who lost her mum, Sera,  during Cyclone Winston, has been hailed for taking care of her siblings.

Tamarisi Nailasekula

Tamarisi has nine siblings out of which five are still at school. Since her mother’s death she has assumed her  responsibilities in running the house or rather the tent that they currently reside in.

Her dad, Patemosi Basaga, says, “She is a brave, hardworking and dedicated individual who believes in herself.”

Rhea Kumar

Rhea has been recognised for taking care of her two autistic siblings with diligence and pride. Autism is a condition that is still not well known in Fiji. But Rhea ensures that they are accepted, understood and taken care of.

She is the head girl and leader of her school maths team, a member of the netball team and a topper in class. Rhea’s mum and dad , Shirleen Kumar and Reginald Kumar said “we are proud of her and believe in her potential”.

Ezra Pickering

Ezra is a versatile student and very talented. He won the Best Orator award in the Save the Children national oratory contest. He also won  the best script award at the Kula Film competition, silver medal at the Coke Games despite a throat infection.

He took the initiative to clean the school and organised reguregu when two students lost their mothers.

Ezra  says “ it is an incredible feeling and anyone can achieve this by going a step further and making a difference in people’s lives”.

Alice Pickering, Ezra’s mother was humbled and very proud of him. She said  that he was a young, selfless boy who brought laughter into people’s lives.

Reenal Restika Devi

Reenal takes care of his father who suffers from partial paralysis and his sickly.

She is the only child and helps out in the family farm of watermelon and peanuts, the only source of cash for her family.

“Meeting the people, building strong relations , hardwork and discipline are the core values of my life,” Reenal said.

Her dad, Rajesh Deo Maharaj, said: “I feel very happy for my daughter and her achievement.

Speaking at the Awards, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa  said that it was a great satisfaction for her to see initiatives like this.

Edited by Naisa Koroi


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