Niulele supports family

Probation firefighter Filomena Niulele of Lami Fire Station during the opening of the station by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on Wednesday. Picture: RAMA

A firefighter’s job is no ordinary one as it involves a range of functions that are tough, particularly extinguishing dangerous fires that are life threatening.

Firefighting is also not for the faint-hearted as it can be challenging and demanding as well.

The discovery of 19-year-old Filomena Niulele in a male-dominated industry was, therefore, a pleasant surprise.

Ms Niulele is one of the first female firefighters to work at the new Lami Fire Station that was opened by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on Wednesday.

The young woman, who has paternal links to Ucuinamono Village in Suva, Rewa, and maternal links to Balenabelo, Nadroga, is happy to be part of an organisation involved in saving people’s lives.

“I was a Year 13 student at Sacred Heart College last year when I was informed about a recruitment being done by the National Fire Authority,” she said.

“It was my sister’s husband who informed me about the recruitment because he worked at NFA.

“I took up the opportunity and was fortunate enough to have been selected as a recruit.”

The recruitment comes at a perfect time in Ms Niulele life as she hopes to assist her dad with household expenses and other financial obligations.

“We faced certain difficulties because dad was the sole breadwinner for the family.

“He made sure we didn’t lack anything, but it was hard seeing him cope with the burden of having to look after me and my siblings with what little he earned.

“Even with the hardships we faced, my parents always encouraged us at home to move forward in life.

“My parents were so supportive in their children’s upbringing, even during my recruitment and right up until I was employed by the authority.”

She is the second eldest in the family.

“Being the second eldest of four children I have taken it upon myself to find work and assist the family.

“The eldest of the family is married and has her own family so what I earn will help out at home. When I started working my dad asked for us to both contribute to financial expenses. Half of my salary goes to my mum to support us.”

She said her work allowed her to support her family at a time when Fiji was facing great economic challenges.

She is one of two female firefighters stationed at the Lami Fire Station.

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