All Things Are Possible

You should not depend on others or any institution to make your dream come true. The moment you have a dream, you create ways and means of accomplishing it. These
19 Aug 2017 11:15
All Things Are Possible
Hemant Rao showing his flower pot plants at Tuatua in Labasa on August 13. Photo:SHRATIKA SINGH

You should not depend on others or any institution to make your dream come true.

The moment you have a dream, you create ways and means of accomplishing it.

These were the words of 46-year-old, Hemant Rao who turned his hobby into a business venture to pay for his university studies.

Mr Rao is currently studying a Bachelor of Law.

“In 2013 by the time I finished taking care of my three younger siblings in Suva, I thought about studying at the University of the South Pacific,” he said.

“So I returned to my home at Vunivau, but things didn’t turn out the way I had expected.

I then began collecting empty Rewa Life milk packets from Nagigi Naag temple because that is the place where many Hindu devotees offer milk to their god and leave the packets in the trash bin.”

Mr Rao said he first collected 300 empty packets and got bougainvillea flower cuttings from Vunika and started his flower selling business.

“After two months I started selling flowers.

I sold one plant for $5 and gradually developed my business by planting different types of flowers.

The business began to thrive and I had to move to a bigger compound in Tuatua where I could store my pot plants and nursery,” he said.

“I have 48 varieties of bougainvillea, 62 varieties of euphorbia-milli plants and many more plants especially the ones to put inside the house.

I sell my pot plants at the Labasa market every Saturday and I even take online orders via my Facebook page.”

Mr Rao said the price of each pot plant depends on the height and variety of the flowers.

Lately, he says, he created a new cross breed of two bougainvillea flower called ‘Kush’.

“So in a month’s time I’m able to earn more than a thousand dollars from it.”

Mr Rao who is the current president of the USP Labasa Students Association said from his flower business he is able to cater for his education fees and daily living expenses.

“I’m a final year law student now and I feel at ease to make a living out of my hobby.

This has enabled me to live my dream.”

Mr Rao said education is for all ages and is grateful of the fact that he is still studying.

“Everyone deserves a second chance in life.

At the age of 21 when it was time for me to enjoy life, I had to sacrifice to fulfill my siblings’ wishes.

“My father who was working at that time as a driver at the Fiji Sugar Corporation, was earning a weekly wage of $75 and could not afford my sister’s education.

“My sister wanted to pursue her tertiary education so I came in to support her and today she is a proud graduate and is now happily married.

“Likewise my other two siblings faced the same challenges and I called them over to Suva and helped them be where they wanted to be today.

For two decades while I was a parent to my siblings I studied and worked at various places.”


After completing Year 12 at All Saints Secondary School in 1988, Mr Rao went to Fiji College of Agriculture in Koronivia to pursue a diploma in tropical agriculture.

From 1992 to 1996 he worked as an agricultural information officer at the Ministry of Agriculture.

Then he got a scholarship to study Certificate in Film and Television at Okinawa International Centre in Japan.

Upon returning he worked at then Ministry of Information’s Dateline Television Unit for five years as a producer.

Later he joined the Coconut Industry Development Authority as a public relations officer.

But he still had so much interest in agriculture that he took up a scholarship to pursue a Certificate in Organic Agriculture on Jeju Island in South Korea.

Mr Rao returned and became a public relations officer for the Fiji Development Bank for two years before he was appointed general manager for Organic Earth Fiji Limited.

“I’ve a positive attitude and this has helped me survive.

When I decided to go back to study, the Fiji National Provident Fund told me that I had exhausted my education eligibility and that is when I decided to do my flower business.”



Mr Rao said the first six months at USP Labasa campus was not easy at all.

“I faced many challenges as there were students straight from high school and some were half the age of mine.

I didn’t have the friends I wanted because of obvious age difference, but I kept on telling myself that there is no age limit to education and I can perform much better as a student.”


Mr Rao said when looks at flowers it gives him hope, builds up his character and personality.

“Flowers make me look forward to another day and give a homely feeling. It helps create an identity and I feel happy.”

He said through this flower business, he has travelled so many times to Australia, New Zealand and India for holidays.

I travel to Suva on a monthly basis to buy new varieties of flowers.

“So you see, through this business, I’m able to do so many things.

I’m forever thankful to God for giving me the resources and strength to live my life.

My advice to people is that if you want to achieve something in life, find out what you are good at and work on it.

Don’t depend on anyone,” Mr Rao added.

Feedback: shratikan@fijisun.com.fj

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