News Story

Volunteers Help Deaf Children in Fijian Community 

Members of the Samabula 1st Ward (congregation) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participated in a service project for the Harland Hostel for the Deaf in Fiji last month. 

A group of 20 volunteers spent three hours cleaning the hostel and playing with the children. They raked the yard, cut the grass, planted, and cleaned. They also repaired a washing machine.  

“We wanted our members, especially our children, to see firsthand how children as young as five years old leave their homes and loved ones and live at the hostel just so they can have access to quality specialized education,” explained Eileen Swann, one of the participants. 

The Harland Hostel for the Deaf has 26 children from ages five to 14. There is also a rented home for older boys and a hostel for older girls.  

“The hostel is just five minutes away from our chapel where we meet each Sunday and we as members of the Church need to be aware of others in the community where we live,” said Swann.  

“We need to know our community, know what services are available or how we can be of service to our community. When we look beyond our differences we will find that we have a lot in common with others. In doing so we build resilient and tolerant communities and better citizens.” 

Twin girls from the Church’s youth organization also participated, despite it being their birthday. 

“I felt joy knowing that I was doing the right thing to help in the service,” said Mielda Waqa, a participating teenager. “Even though I didn't understand them, their smiles said so many things.” 

Arti Malawarair, another member of the Church, said, “It was a special and wonderful service. I definitely learned a lot from the kids there and how we are all children of God. It feels good to help people around us. It's a wonderful blessing.” 

Other participants expressed gratitude to see how happy the children were despite having a loss of hearing and being away from their families.  

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