Official Fenc Fiji Launch
FOUNDATION FOR THE EDUCATION OF NEEDY CHILDREN IN FIJI
Official Launching Statement By
Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister, Saturday 20th February, 2010
The Chair and Members of the Board of Trustees;
The Volunteers, Contributors, Supporters, and Friends of the Foundation for the Education of Needy Children in Fiji, Fenc Fiji.
Ni Sa Bula Vinaka and a Good Evening
It gives me much pleasure to be here this evening for the official launch of Fenc Fiji.
You will note from the pamphlet of Fenc Fiji that its motto is: “Together to make the difference”. This echoes the call in the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress: of moving forward together.
It is not only desirable but also imperative, that we all, as Fijians, join hands and work together, to address all our national problems.
Poverty is a major national problem. It is an issue that should be of grave concern to all, including the well-to-do. We, as a nation, must alleviate poverty; we must reverse the trend of the past three decades of the sharp rise in the incidence of poverty.
Pillar 8 of the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress seeks the reduction of poverty to a negligible level by 2015. This is a tall order but it is one goal that we as a nation, must commit to achieve.
The long term solution to alleviating poverty is through raising sustained economic growth and generating income earning opportunities.
We will, and indeed we have, commenced the implementation of policies and measures which will give greater accessibility to the poor and the reby creating equality in opportunities. After all, charity, on its own, is not the solution.
As we move forward to stimulating sustained economic growth, we must also be mindful of the fact that there are people in our nation who are desperately poor and destitute; who need assistance and support.
I refer in particular to the poorest of the poor. This group of people are most vulnerable and the most disadvantaged in our communities. They need immediate attention and support, to assist them to get out of the debilitating clutches of absolute poverty.
In this particular context, the FencFiji initiative was spawned during the Peoples Charter process, and it is fully supported by my Government, and it is both timely and of great strategic importance. As a home-grown, non-political, non-profit, voluntary organisation, Fenc Fiji’s very specific target and focus is on the poorest of the poor.
I wish to acknowledge my own and the Government’s appreciation to the core group of dedicated people in and outside Fiji, who have volunteered their time and energy to Fenc Fiji .
Government has contributed $200,000.00 seed funding to Fenc Fiji to enable it to get established and operational. The Government has also given recognition to Fenc Fiji as being a charitable trust that is within the ambit of Section 17 (5) of the Income Tax Act. Tax-paying individuals and organizations making any cash donations to Fenc Fiji, of an aggregate amount of up to $100,000.00, can claim this as a deductible expense.
I take this opportunity to encourage individuals and business houses, to seize this incentive and become an active supporter of and contributor to, Fenc Fiji.
This evening a call will be made for pledges of financial contribution, from those who have not had the opportunity to do so. Please give freely!
To kick start it let me make a personal pledge. My wife, Mary, joins me in pledging to Fenc Fiji, $1,000.00 a year, until the elections are held in 2014.
Ladies and Gentlemen, education and support for the poorest children is of utmost importance. Let us collectively embark on this journey today. Our children need you, need us, to bring about change, right now, today - not tomorrow. These children, ladies and gentlemen are our future.
The trustees, ladies and gentlemen I now have much pleasure to officially launch Fenc Fiji.