For the love of family

Joneti Vasuca Rokotuibau with her certifi cate after the APTC graduation. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Motivation allows people to see beyond their jobs. For Joneti Rokotuibau, her source of inspiration has always been her family.

Though her wages were, for many years, inadequate to afford the life she wanted for her family, they were enough to encourage her to do better.

That push urged the mother-of-two to switch vocation.

As a result, she recently graduated from the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) with a diploma in counselling, an achievement she believes was a blessing in disguise.

She was a one of the few pioneers of sign language interpreters in Fiji.

Looking back, Ms Rokotuibau said her career as an interpreter, though satisfying, was a challenging one.

She had to survive on low wages that had no Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) deductions. Ms Rokotuibau applied for an Australian internationally recognised scholarship in 2021 but when classes resumed in January 2022 her name was not on the list.

The Naitutu villager from Tailevu did not feel disheartened. She prayed and waited patiently until a week later when she received a call to start her studies.

However, because of financial constraints, Ms Rokotuibau could not afford to pay for her fees.

“I could not afford to pay for an education at the University of the South Pacific because there was no consistent FNPF deduction from my pay and this affected my FNPF education eligibility.”

She realised that if she were to get adequately rewarded, then she would have to be a teacher at the Gospel School of the Deaf or have private assignments as an interpreter.

After carefully considering her future and that of her family, Ms Rokotuibau decided to get some form of formal qualification as a counsellor for people living with disabilities.

This is an area she firmly believes Fiji’s lacking in. She later enrolled with APTC and pursued a qualification in professional counselling.

“My qualification gives me recognition and allows me to have a secured job,” she said.

“I was on attachment for the last three months at Empower Pacific and I’m grateful for the opportunity that has been given to me. I now work as a counsellor with Homes of Hope.”

Ms Rokotuibau thanked her family for their support during her studies. “My husband and two sons have been my motivation,” she said.

“I also thank God for my family, my mum for taking care of my responsibilities at home when I was away, my sisters, brother-inlaw and all those who helped me with my studies at APTC.”

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