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Working with Children in Fiji

Children and young people in Dawasamu face many challenges today. Their communities are organised according to traditional cultural hierarchy, privileging both age and gender. This can mean that young people lack a voice to advocate for themselves and the future of their communities. Communities rely heavily on subsistence farming and fishing with few other sources of income. With increasing exchange with urban centres, as well as the importance of tourism for the local economy, quality education is a crucial tool for empowering young people to make informed choices which benefit themselves, their communities, and their cultural heritage.


The project supports two primary schools in the district to improve English literacy and provide lessons which enhance the creative and physical development of children in the district. GVI volunteers deliver a range of sessions which include one-on-one support for children with additional learning needs, literacy groups for focused reading and comprehension work, and composition workshops to engage students in the creative development of their writing and language skills. The programme works in partnership with local schools and builds the capacity of teaching staff and management through professional development and the sharing of resources.

The Issues

A large pupil to teacher ratio, lack of quality teacher training and resources, and poor infrastructure in schools all pose considerable barriers. In spite of being a second language in Fiji, English is the language of instruction throughout the education system. This poses significant challenges to both students and teachers. The demands of the Fijian Syllabus are grueling and there is a huge range of abilities among children in the classroom. Often children become good mechanical readers through learning by rote, but lack the comprehension skills to use their reading to actually learn.

Teachers lack the capacity in time, resources and expertise to differentiate teaching and learning, leaving a large number of students falling well below requirements and, as a result, disengaging from education. This has and continues to result in a culture where formal education is seen by many as irrelevant for daily life. Education in Fiji is subject largely to a one-size-fits-all approach which fails to cater for the diversity of abilities and learning styles. This, combined with class size and an educational culture of low expectations, leads to significant challenges in terms of classroom management and behaviour, further hindering engagement in teaching and learning for students.




Lack of suitable education facilities


Construction of schools, classrooms and libraries


170 classrooms, libraries and school facilities built or refurbished

What we're doing

The education project in Dawasamu increases the capacity of schools through the provision of GVI volunteers. The volunteers are able to assist teachers in the classroom, support students, contribute to resource development and offer a range of activities through which pupils can be given focused input. To understand the specific needs of students, we have an assessment process. This allows volunteers to see and understand the specific needs of each student and tailor their lessons accordingly. Where students are in large and sometimes composite classes they are taught at class level regardless of their ability, this means that any gaps in learning tend to persist. Volunteers are able to address some of these difficulties with differentiated activities for individual students or small literacy groups. GVI will regularly assess and monitor student progress in order to continue to have relevant input. All outcomes and strategies will be shared with the school. Issues related to classroom management are addressed through professional development to introduce strengths-based strategies and a positive culture within schools. In response to specific concerns of teacher GVI also offers workshops in this area.

Long-term sustainability

By improving education in the district, students will be able to engage critically with the world around them, their communities and the competing demands of traditional cultural life and globalised culture in Fiji. This will give them tools for self-expression and enable them to better negotiate and assert their identity and rights within their communities and for their communities.

Support Us

To donate to this project online, please use the tabs at the top of the page. You can also donate via text message (details below) or by a bank transfer. To make a standing order payment, please see the donate page on our website.

Donate by UK Mobile – Text FJED05 £10 to 70070 to donate £10 to Education for Underprivileged Children in Fiji
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