Over 100 community volunteers from the Ovalau, Moturiki and Lomaiviti Group in Fiji are set to benefit from Community Training for Family Caregivers this week.
The inaugural two-day workshop, which began yesterday in Levuka, aims to better address the needs of the elderly and those living with disabilities. Most of the participants are women from rural and remote areas.
The workshop, jointly conducted by the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) and the Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, is part of an ongoing collaboration between APTC and the Ministry to improve the quality of aged care services across Fiji.
In opening the workshop, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa, said the training recognised the need to empower communities to better look after their loved ones who were in need of special individual support. She said it was an acknowledgement of the demographic make-up of Fiji and the demands that it would place on society in two to three decades’ time.
Hon. Vuniwaqa also highlighted the opportunity the training provided to understand the challenging realities of caregivers and share best practices to aid community family caregiving.
“The Fijian Government’s commitment to older persons and persons living with disabilities is proclaimed under Fiji’s 2013 Constitution which provides for a wide range of socio-economic rights. These rights include rights to education, access to health care, housing and sanitation, reasonable access to transportation, food security and safe water, and social security schemes,” she said.
“Fiji’s National Development Plan, with the vision of 'Transforming Fiji', ensures that through inclusive development, no one should be left behind, regardless of geographical location, gender, ethnicity, physical and intellectual abilities.”
Earlier this year, the partnership between the Ministry and APTC was formalised. As part of this collaboration, at least four professional development training sessions are planned to be delivered by APTC in 2018.
APTC is a flagship program of the Australian Government that provides internationally recognised Australian skills and qualifications for a wide range of vocational careers for skilled workers, including Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community).
APTC CEO, Denise O’Brien, said APTC was proud to facilitate learning, transfer of skills and information to community workers to better provide care to the elderly and people with disabilities so they could continue living independently in their communities.