How the Firoz family saved Kinisimere’s education

  A Year 13 student of DAV College in Suva has paid tribute to her vice-principal and his family for taking her in for the third school term to complete
06 Nov 2017 16:18
How the Firoz family saved Kinisimere’s education
Mohammed Firoz (right) and his family with Kinisimere Tikoilakeba and her mother Lagilagi Tutawanakoro at Khalsa Rd in Nasinu. Photo: Arishma Devi-Narayan


A Year 13 student of DAV College in Suva has paid tribute to her vice-principal and his family for taking her in for the third school term to complete her studies after the threat of aborting her final year in secondary school.

Nineteen-year-old Kinisimere Tikoilakeba related how her struggles at a relative’s home came to an abrupt halt when she had to move out to live with her father in Galoa, Serua. That’s when vice-principal Mohammed Firoz stepped in a week later, called to tell her to get back to school and complete her studies.

Kinisimere often broke down in tears while relating her story from Mr Firoz’s family home at Khalsa Road in Nasinu, said Mr Firoz was influential in her life since he had been the principal at Gau Secondary School which she had attended.

“For my high school I reached Gau Secondary School as a boarding student where I met Mr Firoz, my principal then, but two years after he came back to Suva and so had I, as my uncle had told me to opt for a better education,” she said.

At that time Kinisimere was staying with her uncle (mother’s brother) at Nacavanadi Village in Gau who she moved in with after her parents separated.

Her uncle had counseled her that she needed to continue her studies with the support of Mr Firoz because he was a good mentor.

“Ever since my parents separated, I had been living with my uncle on Gau Island,” she said.

She moved to Suva and stayed with a relative at Cunningham which she said had been a struggle for her. Mr Firoz decided to give shelter and add Kinisimere as a family member to his home after he heard Kinisimere had stopped schooling because she did not have a home to stay at in Suva.

“I am grateful for the three months I have spent here and I am thankful for the beautiful and humble family for providing me with shelter when I needed it the most and helping me with everything.

“I did not have any chores to do as I focused on my studies only, I had my own bedroom while my brothers (Mr Firoz’s two sons) made the living room their bedroom,” she said.

Mr Firoz said he found out about Kinisimere’s dilemma, talked it over with his family and decided to open their home for her.

“I could not let her 13 years of education go to waste, I tried to look for a shelter for her when I came to know about what she was going through, but even organisations had a lengthy process and exams were just around the corner. So without a second thought I took her home, my family welcomed her and she became a part of us.”

To her surprise, Kinismere’s mother who was residing at Naitasiri came to Mr Firoz at school and he brought her home to spend time with her.

Mother, Lagilagi Tutawanakoro also thanked Mr Firoz for taking her daughter under his care when she ended up in a helpless situation. Kinisimere jumped for joy at their reunion.

On Friday, she departed from Mr Firoz’s home for Serua to spend time with her father, before going to her mum’s place in Naitasiri. She said she would then set out on her quest to become an army officer.

“Mr and Mrs Firoz will help me apply to be recruited into the army,” she said with a smile.

Mr Firoz said his family would visit their adopted daughter in Naitasiri during the school holidays. He said Fiji is a multiracial country and the ethnic communities needed to open up and provide for each other when the need arises.

“We live in a truly multiracial country and having Kinisimere at home having both sides adjusting was not at all hard, she went to church every Sunday and we had our ‘Namaz’ prayers accordingly, all that mattered was humanity,” Mr Firoz said.

Edited by Rusiata Mataika


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