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Wendy A Beacon For Transgender Community

  Senivalati Waqanivavalagi, widely known as Wendy, has challenged members of the transgender community to take on new obstacles and not fear anything. Wendy has graduated with a Bachelor of
22 Sep 2018 10:00
Wendy A Beacon For Transgender Community
Senivalati Waqanivavalagi, widely known as Wendy, after graduation at the FMF Gymnasium in Suva on September 21, 2018. Photo: Sheenam Chandra

 

Senivalati Waqanivavalagi, widely known as Wendy, has challenged members of the transgender community to take on new obstacles and not fear anything.

Wendy has graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) majoring in Tourism Management and Human Resources Management and Employment Relations from the University of the South Pacific.

She received her degree yesterday during the graduation ceremony at the FMF Gymnasium in Suva.

“I am so fortunate to have people around me who make me who I am now,” Wendy said.

“Especially being transgender I have faced discrimination and have received negative comments from people.

“But I have developed a thick skin and I to go through that in order to succeed.

“I want to challenge all the transgender out there and tell them that if I can make it, they can make it as well.”

Wendy said she was very fortunate that the School of Tourism and School of Management at USP provided support when she needed help.

The 38-year-old, who is from Serua Province, has worked nine years at TappooCity and was the Head of the Souvenir Department.

“The person who inspired me was Dr Esther Williams, she was Deputy Vice-Chancellor of USP in 2014,” said Wendy.

“She came to TappooCity to the Robert Kennedy collection and she was talking to me because I was inquisitive about studies and said: ‘Why don’t you try it out at USP’.”

Therefore, in 2015, Wendy started studying at USP. Working from 9am to 6pm for six days and then taking one day off for her classes.

“My day off is every Wednesday and it was the only day to slot in all my tutorial units.”

She said it was a challenge to test her sacrifice and time management.

“I had to come to school with all the assignments, presentations, debates and cope with it,” Wendy said.

Wendy said the journey was really challenging, but she was so fortunate and blessed that she had people around her who helped her to complete her studies.

In addition, Wendy is the first graduate in her family.

“My parents were so supportive and they actually live in the village, but they always call me and keep tabs,” said Wendy.

“They always remember me in their prayers every single day and I am the first one in the family to graduate.

“They are really proud.”

Wendy’s father was unable to come to attend the graduation because he was sick.

Now Wendy’s plan is to venture into the tourism sector. She was very thankful to her employer, Tappoos, for providing her employment and allowing time for her to complete her studies.

“I want to focus more in the tourism sector because it goes with the personality,” she said.

“I love travelling and I would love to see what the Pacific and the world has to offer.”

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: sheenam.chandra@fijisun.com.fj

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