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From Farmer To Preschool Teacher Thanks To TELS

‘Planting and selling cassava was our only source of income. I did it for many years, so I was okay with it, but my heart still longed for university’
15 Jun 2022 02:00
From Farmer To Preschool Teacher Thanks To TELS
Koresi lagilagi with his sister, Mereoni Nalawakula, during his graduation last month

A decision by family members not to use their last $40 to buy groceries and send one of their sons to university has finally borne fruit.

Koresi Lagilagi, was working on his farm in the village for five years when members of his family decided to support his dream of being a preschool teacher.

The family had only earned the money from selling agricultural produce between Ra and Ba.

“When I completed my Year 13 studies, there was no way I was going to go to university because my dad could not afford it,” he said.

“I was devastated, but I believed the only way to live at that time was farming.

“Planting and selling cassava was our only source of income. I did it for many years, so I was okay with it, but my heart still longed for university.”

One day his late brother, who was also a farmer, asked him if he wanted to go back to school.

The 26-year-old assessed his family situation and what the opportunity would bring, he remained silent as his brother continued to question his next move.

“My silence spoke for itself and he knew that I wanted to go to school. He handed me $40 and said that it was all that the family had,” Mr Lagilagi said.

“I knew about the Tertiary Education Loan Scheme and the opportunity it gave people. I left the village with that money and visited Suva.”

The Dreketi, Ra native applied for sponsorship from the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS) and got accepted to study early childhood education at the University of the South Pacific.

He put his heart and mind into it and graduated with a diploma in the programme last month.

Mr Lagilagi now teaches at Nalawa Central School, where he nurtures 16 preschoolers.

“This field is normally seen as a job for females, but I want to prove that perspective wrong,” he said.

“This job helps us financially. We are now living on a bigger income compared to what we earned from the farm.

“Everything in God’s timing is perfect and continue to believe in the creator.”
josefa.babitu@fijisun.com.fj

 



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