NATION

From Wales With Love

The villagers of Naqia in Wainibuka, Tailevu, no long­er have the problem of taking their children to other villages to attend kindergarten. The village now has its very own kindergarten
18 Aug 2018 11:00
From Wales With Love
John Berry and Tina Berry pose for a picture with a framed photo of their late son Jack Berry at the Jack Berry Memorial Kindergarten at Naqia Village in Wainibuka, Tailevu. Photo: Wati Talebula

The villagers of Naqia in Wainibuka, Tailevu, no long­er have the problem of taking their children to other villages to attend kindergarten.

The village now has its very own kindergarten called the ‘Jack Ber­ry Memorial Kindergarten’, which was opened on Wednesday by the Permanent Secretary for Employ­ment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Salaseini Daunabuna.

The late Jack Berry died on Octo­ber 28, 2017, aged 26, in Wales. He collapsed after training on his bi­cycle. He was married to a woman from Naqia Village named Luisa, who is currently living in Wales. They met in Wales, came for a visit to Fiji in 2013, got married in 2014. They have no children.

The kindergarten, which can ac­commodate at least 20 to 30 stu­dents, came about through the kind donation of Mr Berry’s parents from Wales, John and Tina Berry.

“Jack was married to Luisa who is from this village and four years ago they visited Naqia and he fell in love with the people and the en­vironment,” Mr Berry said.

“Jack was going to become a chef and I was saving some money for him to open up a restaurant. When he died I talked with Semi, who is Luisa’s uncle, to have a school built at the village. So the money that I was saving up for John went to building the kindergarten.

“Our families and friends in Wales did fundraising to raise more funds for the school and today we see the results.”

Ms Daunabuna acknowledged the Berry family for their contribution.

“Given this contribution it is very fitting that the ECE Centre is named Jack Berry Memorial Kin­dergarten,” he said.

“John Berry, Tina Berry and Lui­sa today we pay tribute to a son and a husband in the opening of this Centre and your close ties with the school and the community will con­tinue to be felt in many more years to come.”

Mr Berry further said: “By build­ing this kindergarten in Naqia, not only are we creating a legacy for Jack, but importantly it will allow Jack’s spirit to continue to inspire these children to believe in them­selves, to dream big, and more im­portantly to have the courage to fol­low those dreams.

“I know that this school will be a very happy and magical place and the start of many interesting and exciting journeys for all the chil­dren who attend.

“Losing Jack at the end of last year was without doubt the dark­est day of our lives, and although it would have been easy to become angry and feel bitter with events, and to dwell on the negativity and misery of ‘what ifs’ and ‘if only’, I was determined to somehow turn this tragedy on its head and create something incredibly positive.”

Naqia village headman Seru Sarusaru said: “This is the first kindergarten for our village and we are very happy. Before we had to go to other villages that have kinder­gartens to enrol our children.

“Now we have a kindergarten right here in the village. I want to thank the Berry family for making our dream come true. The legacy of Jack will forever live on in this vil­lage.”

The kindergarten will begin op­eration next year.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

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