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LDS Charities and Partners Support Education Initiative in Fiji


On Monday, March 19, John McLean and Callum Blair, trustees for New Zealand based Furniture for Schools Charitable Trust (FFS), visited three schools in Fiji to witness the use of the desks, chairs, books and tables donated by schools and children in New Zealand.

They expressed the desire to foster a “sister school” relationship between donors and recipients that would benefit the students in both countries. The pre-loved furniture from New Zealand schools is loaded into shipping containers and directed to schools who have a real need for the furnishings.

The FFS trustees were delighted and gratified by the reception received at each visit. McLean stated, “Our partnership with LDS Charities (the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has made it possible for our organization to provide support to schools in need in the Pacific Islands.”

He added, “As the environment in schools becomes conducive to learning, these children are more able to make progress in their education and one day will be able to contribute and give back to the country of Fiji.”

In the last three years, FFS has sent 70 containers of donated school furniture to schools in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Vanuatu.


Viliame K. Kuboutawa, representing the Fiji Ministry of Education conducted the tour. Russell and Wendy Perry, full-time humanitarian missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Paul Whippy and David Atalifo from the LDS Service Centre (administration office for the LDS Church) in Suva and Elder Adolf J. Johansson, Area Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fiji, participated in the visits to the schools.

Makereta Rasaku, head teacher at the St Vincents de-Paul Primary School from the Tailevu Province, Central Division, expressed her sincere gratitude for the donations. “These quality chairs are comfortable for my students to sit on which improves their concentration on their school work.” The school suffered much damage from Cyclone Winston and is still in the rebuilding process. “These donations have filled a real need,” said Rasaku.


Qalo Lesi, principal at Queen Victoria School of the same province of Tailevu in the Central Division, greeted the visitors along with Mrs. Lesi who acts as vice-principal. The classrooms visited were filled with young men eager to learn and appreciative of the desks and chairs they received. Mrs. Lesi commented, “We are so fortunate for this assistance and look forward to more.”

She continued, “Our boys were sitting on stools prior to the donation of desks and chairs.”


At the Nasau Central Secondary and Primary Schools tucked away in a mountain village in Ra Province, Western Division, visitors were treated to the combined voices of enthusiastic singing from the students.  Smiles were plentiful as students expressed their appreciation for new desks and chairs. Principal Lenati Ramokosoi said, “my students benefited directly from the donations and we are most thankful.”


Previously only a Nasau Primary school existed. Construction on a secondary school was in progress, but furniture was needed to begin a year nine school.  Thanks to the donations from FFS, year nine in the secondary school has begun.

Refreshments were provided by school at the end of the tour.

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