Feature

Rashnil Chand, Survives Street, Finds Light At End Of Tunnel

Having spent more than six months sleeping on sidewalks or verandahs Mr Chand managed to find light at the end of the tunnel as a homeless person.
12 Jul 2019 12:51
Rashnil Chand, Survives Street, Finds Light At End Of Tunnel
Rashnil Chand hopes to exend his business and hopefully get kids off the streets.

 

Surviving on the streets has taught Romal Rashnil Chand, 29, many lessons in life.

It has also given him  a sense of mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together and do not have a place to go.

Having spent more than six months sleeping on sidewalks or verandahs Mr Chand managed to find light at the end of the tunnel as a homeless person.

For the past three years he has been operating a car wash and detailing business in Suva.

But, memories of a life he spent sleeping on the verandah at Raojibhai Patel Street in Suva is a constant reminder to strive to work hard.

“I had to live the sisi (homeless)  life for a brief moment in my life,” Mr Chand said.

“I worked for a DVD shop in Toorak and finished late, it was better for me to spend the nights in Suva instead of going home to Davuilevu.

“Not earning much, sacrifices had to be made, to ensure payments for family commitments went well.

“This also allowed me to save some money.”

Mr Chand said the sidewalks at Raojibhai Patel Street had become home to many homeless people.

On the streets

“All one needs is a cardboard to lay down anywhere in the city.”

He chose the area near St Vincent De Paul office because spaces on the top were taken.

“It was not an easy life. Once there was a number of new kids on the streets, they would pick fights over space and demand money,” he said.

“On the street you must stand your ground, so I retaliated when I was pushed in a corner. What I also observed was the unity among street kids.

“They shared almost everything and had each-others’ backs when the odds were stacked against them or when they tangled with the law.

“For some stealing is the only way to make money while the younger ones choked (begged) for money.”

According to Mr Chand the youngest person he encountered was 12 years old and the oldest he knew was 60.

Originially from Vunivau in Bua, Mr Chand came to Suva in 2004 and since then life has been a struggle.

Changed for the better

Now, life has changed for the better.

Mr Chand was able to get work right next to where he was staying.

He was able to negotiate a deal to start his own business.

“After working three years for DN Patel, I was able to get space on their property to operate a car wash,” Mr Chand said.

“I employ three people and another two in my office cleaning and lawn mowing company.

“I learned the hard way and realised how to save money and start a business to  help my future.”

Mr Chand is hoping that a scheme similar to the Young Entrepreneurship Scheme will allow him some assistance.

He plans to extend his business and hopefully get some kids off the street.

Edited by Percy Kean

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