NATION

Centres To Benefit The Disabled, The Elderly And Women

Four church buildings in the Northern Division have been retrofitted to become more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities, the elderly and women during disasters.
29 May 2022 09:52
Centres To Benefit The Disabled, The Elderly And Women
Grace Joy, 8, the first person with disability (in wheelchair) to use the facility is surrounded by Australian Humanitarian Partnership partners, Government officials and Church Agency Network Disaster Operations members during the commissioning of the new retrofitted Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church in Savusavu on May 24, 2022. Photo: ADRA

Four church buildings in the Northern Division have been retrofitted to become more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities, the elderly and women during disasters.

The Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP), the Church Agency Network Disaster Operations (CAN DO) through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Fiji, upgraded the four properties of the Roman Catholic Church and the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church as potential evacuation centers.

They installed added ramps and railings and other easy access features. On Tuesday, the Savusavu Fijian SDA Church was launched and handed over to the community following the completion of the retrofitting works as part of the disaster preparedness for communities.

Other properties include Naravuka SDA and Caritas / Roman Catholic nominated sites of St Bede’s Secondary School and Nabala Secondary School.

Officiating at the handing over ceremony, Cakaudrove provincial project co-ordinator Filipe Seru extended his appreciation on behalf of the Commissioner Northern’s Office, for this initiative.

“Now that the retrofitting works are completed, it is our hope that in times of disaster when the people or the Government will look to the church for assistance, that the humble plea from the community will be heard, that the church may open its doors to receive the affected, and those desperately seeking refuge and shelter,” Mr Seru said.

Fiji Disabled People’s Federation (FDPF) disaster risk reduction officer Jay Nasilasila said: “For so long we have been neglected and we are grateful that steps to improve the evacuation centres to accommodate us are being taken by CAN DO,” Mr Nasilasila said.

ADRA Fiji GIS Co-ordinator Etika Naitini said: “Our hope is also to inspire all faith-based groups in the Northern Division to consider in their future plans the idea of making their facilities more access friendly to consider the needs and safety of the disabled persons in their communities, including the elderly, women and children.”



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