NEWS

Dream Job Closer For Duo

Two 19-year-olds who overcame trials, hardships and personal circumstances, are closer to realising their dreams to be doctors. Sailasa Tuivuna of Jai Narayan College and Adi Vasiti Vakaliwaliwa of Dudley
12 Jan 2019 10:28
Dream Job Closer For Duo
From left: Sailasa Tuivuna and Adi Vasiti Vakaliwaliwa. Photo: Wati Talebula

Two 19-year-olds who overcame trials, hardships and personal circumstances, are closer to realising their dreams to be doctors.

Sailasa Tuivuna of Jai Narayan College and Adi Vasiti Vakaliwaliwa of Dudley High School, both in Suva, are in the top 10 of the Toppers scholarship list.

A student who scored the highest marks in Fiji did not apply for Toppers.

Sailasa, who lives in a squatter settlement, and Adi Vasiti, who was raised by her unemployed single mother, will study to become doctors.

The top 10 students on the National Toppers Scheme are Sailasa Tuivuna, Adi Vasiti Vakaliwaliwa, Ratu Saunivanua Toutou, Jernese Macanawai, Deepsha Lal, Ranjeet Ritesh Chand, Namrata Neha Chand, Mohammed Raza, Rishav Kartik Prasad and Lily Sue Cakaunivere.

Sailasa Tuivuna

Sailasa Tuivuna knew that only through the National Toppers Scheme he would be able to study for the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) because his parents would not be able to afford it.

The 19-year-old hails from Soso Village in Naviti, Yasawa, and has maternal links to Navuatu Village in Sanima, Kadavu.

He attended Jai Narayan College. He is the elder of two siblings.

He lives with his parents at Howell Road settlement.

Sailasa hopes to one day give a better life to his parents, who have been his source of motivation.

“To study for MBBS is expensive and my family cannot afford it, so this is a great opportunity for me. I get to study for free,” Sailasa said.

“Last year I was given a Toppers Scholarship, but I declined the offer because it was not MBBS but Bachelor of Science. I want to become a psychiatrist in the future and in order for me to become one I needed to do MBBS.

“Receiving the Toppers Scholarship this year and getting it for MBBS is like a dream come true. I am ready to study and make my parents proud.”

Sailasa said he always doubted himself when he did foundation studies.

“In order for me to study hard for foundation I had to sacrifice spending time with my friends. My dad was raised in a very poor family and I wanted to take away the burden of him having to worry about paying my school fees. My dad had to work hard so that he could afford to send me to do my foundation studies,” he said.

“My parents had to back down from some important things, so that they could focus on paying my foundation studies. Everything

happens for a reason and it is not always bad.

“Getting the scholarship is like saying to my parents ‘thank you’, so it is a relief for them also. It is like taking away the burden and it is all in my hands now.”

Adi Vasiti Vakaliwaliwa

Former Dudley High School student Adi Vasiti Vakaliwaliwa is one step closer to her dream to become a doctor.

This is after she was awarded a National Toppers scholarship by the Tertiary Loans and Scholarship Board (TLSB). While paying tribute to her mother and relatives for their help, Adi Vasiti described how her journey to achieve her dream was fraught with difficulties.

The 19-year-old hails from Nabuna Village in Koro, Lomaiviti, and has maternal links to Narocivo Village in Nayau, Lau. Adi Vasiti said her father, a church pastor, died in 2014 and her mother was unemployed.

She said Government’s free education initiative allowed her to complete high school.

When the results of the external exams for 2017 were released she found that she did not score enough marks to be able to secure a place to pursue a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) de- gree. Adi Vasiti said she was unwilling to apply for the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS) and her only option was to secure a Toppers scholarship.

With the help of a relative from Australia, who paid for her studies, she undertook the foundation programme at the University of the South Pacific last year.

This paid off because this year she was named among the Top 10 Toppers scholarship recipients.

“When everyone asked me what I wanted to become when I grow up and I always told them that I wanted to become a doctor,” she said.

“Receiving the scholarship feels surreal. I was expecting to get the scholarship, but it is a totally different feeling when I actually received the offer letter. I am passionate about saving people’s lives.

“I passed year 13, but I did not get the mark that was required. I asked myself what my next step should be. My mother does not work, so it was hard for me to decide because I did not want her to worry.

“I am the first in my family to get the Toppers scholarship.

“I am so happy and excited this year. The Toppers scholarship is one of the good things the Government came up with. Students need to work hard instead of having things handed to them.

“This year the numbers of the recipients have increased which means that they are giving the chance for students to make their dreams come true.

“Getting this scholarship is one way of showing my appreciation to my mother. It’s been hard these past few years, but I just want to thank God for bringing me this far.

“One thing I have learned throughout my journey is that I have to keep going forward because nothing is impossible. The world is out there and there is nothing that I can’t do as long as I work hard. Nothing is hard in life. It was tough, but I had to go through it in order for me to be here.

“I want to thank my family for their words of encouragement and support because without them I would not have reached this far.”

Adi Vasiti is the youngest of five siblings.

There are 970 Toppers scholarship recipients this year. Of this, 20 have been given awards to study overseas.

Last year, there were 630 Toppers scholarship recipients.
Edited by Epineri Vula

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