The Treasure House Orphanage in Nadi has truly amazing children aged between three weeks and 17 years, each with his or her own personality.
There are 27 children living in two houses, the younger ones accommodated in an old building.
Visitors to the Orphanage would see a ‘Wish List,’ which includes basic needs such as rice, bread, sugar, flour, buckets, mops, nappies and toilet rolls. It also highlights the need for ‘larger items’ such as curtains and a new stove.
I asked the carers if we could give the children something more substantial that would make a big difference in their lives.
Their reply was, “A new house for the young children.”
The Fiji government contributes a mere F$60 per month per child, insufficient to meet simple needs of the children.
I lost both my parents to Cancer in 2004. During the end of their illness, we spent a lot of time in a Hospice. I was touched by the incredible support and comfort my parents and family received during this period. All the caregivers at the Hospice were volunteers, who had lost their loved ones to cancer.
Their stories captured my heart and I decided to do something for the needy.
I was also diagnosed with cancer in 2004 but managed to overcome the disease.
In January 2010, I lost Leith Gray, one of my key employees in a traffic accident. He left behind his partner and Eden, their eight-month old baby. This incident broke the hearts of everyone in the company.
I established a trust fund for baby Eden to ensure that regular contributions from me and my staff would secure her financial future.
The next opportunity to ‘give back’ occurred during our family vacation in Fiji.
Our daughter Estella and her friends visited the Treasure House Orphanage. They were moved by the plight of the children and decided to help. The following day, they walked around the swimming pool at the Hilton hotel and asked people to donate money to the Orphanage so that on their next visit, they could help purchase some of the items on the ‘Wish List.’
I established the ‘Treasure House Orphanage Fund’ to make a difference and give something back to the community. Most of my current and former staff contribute between $2 and $4 a week to the Fund.
I propose to pay for a group of people to fly to Fiji every three months and work with Treasure House Orphanage Director Ulamila Cakau and others.
I would be on the first trip on February 4, along with my colleague Karthik Ramanathan and four others. We will also plan our visits in May, August and November this year.
We would like Air Pacific to offer us a reduced rate for 25 to 30 flights. Hilton Fiji has committed to a substantial discount on accommodation during our quarterly visits and I have secured a driver for the duration of each trip.
Our goal is to raise F$100,000 in the first 12 months. We would like to build a new house for the young children at Orphanage. All we need is 336 persons, each contributing $2 per week to the Fund.
Every cent raised would go directly to the Orphanage. There would be no administrative or other costs deducted.
Paul Ross is Managing Director of Power Marketing, an Australasian specialist direct marketing company based in Auckland. He is the founder and a trustee of the ‘Treasure House Fiji Orphanage Fund.’ Email: email@example.com.
Among the other Trustees of the Fund are Ruchita Patel (Chairperson), Bruce Webster (Chartered Accountant) and Mike Vallant (Lawyer). Donations to the Treasure House Fiji Orphanage Fund can be made into Bank of New Zealand Account Number 02-0192-0133536-000. Website: www.treasurehouse.co.nz