NEWS

PM An Inspiration: Fijian Medical Students

The Prime Minister is surely a father-figure to us: Sanjana Singh
03 Oct 2019 13:47
PM An Inspiration: Fijian Medical Students
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, medical student Sanjana Singh (seventh from left) with other Fijian medical students and members of the Fijian delegation in Havana, Cuba. Photo: PM’s Office

Fijian medical students in Havana, Cuba, yesterday described Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama as an inspiration and a father-figure.

First-year student Sanjana Singh said: “We feel so blessed to have him here. It is an amazing opportunity to meet the honourable Prime Minister.”

Mr Bainimarama said he enjoyed meeting the students and it was hard to say farewell.

“They’ve booked themselves some rooms in town to await the rest who are coming some distance and arriving at about 2 am (early this morning Fiji time). Then they will all come back and join us tomorrow (today) for lunch again.”

It is understood they just wanted to hang around Mr Bainimarama. He reminded them of Fiji and their families here.

For Ms Singh, Mr Bainimarama has boosted her morale.

Family problems and failure to make the cut to attend the Fiji School of Medicine (FSM) did not deter her from pursuing her dream.

Despite spending six years at St Christopher’s Home in Nakasi because of family issues, Ms Singh now looks back with gratitude.

The 24-year-old is among the 21 Fijian students pursuing a medical degree at the Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM) in Cuba.

“I’ve always wanted to become a doctor. I went through a tough time with my family and the St. Christopher’s Home in Nakasi took me in. After high school, I didn’t meet the criteria to join FSM, but that didn’t deter me from pursuing my dreams.”

Ms Singh decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of the South Pacific. She graduated in 2017.

“After that, I worked a bit and tried applying for the Cuba scholarship. To my surprise, I got accepted. This is my second year here and I am fulfilling my dream.”

Ms Singh thanked the nuns at St. Christopher’s Home who helped her believe in herself.

“My mum who has been there for me always reminded me not to give up. I would like to tell young people who are trying but feel like they are getting nowhere in life, you can make it.

“No matter your age, your family background, your race, all the problems that you have been through.

“Just keep going on strong and focus on your goals. I have another five years to go and I am sure God has got my back in this journey.”

Ms Singh thanked the Fijian and Cuban Governments for making the impossible possible. She said meeting the Prime Minister yesterday at Hotel Nacional De Cuba was an honour and a blessing.

“It was a very friendly meeting and he showed a lot of interest in our stay and studies in Cuba.”

Another meeting has been organised for today to enable the PM to meet with other students who live outside of Havana. Mr Bainimarama is the first Fijian leader to make an official visit to Cuba.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with medical student Sanjana Singh (middle) and Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Satyendra Prasad in Havana, Cuba. Photo: PM’s Office

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with medical student Sanjana Singh (middle) and
Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Satyendra Prasad
in Havana, Cuba. Photo: PM’s Office

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: jennis.naidu@fijisun.com.fj



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