Single mum shares story behind success

Despite being a single mother, Tepola Vatunicoko believes she has achieved so much in life.

Currently a nanny with the Meimei department at the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, she shared how being a mother at a young age motivated her towards success.

In 2008, at the age of 21, she began law studies at the University of Fiji.

However, it was put on hold because she had to look after her son and her parents.

After she left university in 2008 and having spent some time at home, she applied for a nanny vacancy at the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort.

“Even though I wanted to continue law studies, I knew I had a family to look after and so I jumped at the opportunity,” said Ms Vatunicoko.

“I knew it would be a long shot because I did not have any experience or skills but when I was given the job in 2010, I knew that was going to be the start of something amazing.”

Ms Vatunicoko has been working for the Meimei department for more than 13 years.

“Because I joined with no knowledge or experience, I kept telling myself that I needed to work extra hard but when I started, I transitioned smoothly.

“As a woman and a mum, we are known to be natural nurturers. So, when I started my job as a nanny, I came with the experience of being a mother but as years went by, I gained more knowledge and skills.”

Ms Vatunicoko is originally from Malevu Village, Nadroga, with maternal links to Sawana, Vanua Balavu in Lau.

She is a part of 23 experienced and professional nannies in the Meimei department.

“For us here at the Outrigger, we entertain and care for our guests; and at the Meimei department, it’s a special department to be a part of because we entertain and care for our little guests.

“We ensure they have a fun and memorable experience while with us.”

Growing up, Ms Vatunicoko was taught by her mother to love, be independent and to tackle whatever challenges she faced in life’s journey.

“Sadly, my mum passed away three years ago but I keep her teachings close to my heart.”

She now stays with her father and her two sons at their family home in the village.

“Growing up everything was great because I grew up in a loving and caring family that was pretty much all the support I needed.”

Ms Vatunicoko said being a single mum was the only challenge she faced but she managed to transform the challenge into her motivation.

“Back then I thought that having to care for my first born and my parents was a struggle but what I didn’t know was that it pushed me beyond my limits.

“When I found out I was pregnant I did not feel like that was the end for me. Throughout my pregnancy, I felt motivated to push my myself to realise my true potential and to always look ahead.

“My boys are my motivation. Every morning when I see my boys they motivate me to be a better mum.”

She said being a mum has always been a blessing.

“There are a lot of opportunities out there and the only way you will come across these opportunities is by putting yourself out there and having that mindset of ‘yes I can and will be able to do it’.

“Being pregnant is a blessing because not all women will get a chance to carry a child in their womb.

“If you have that mentality that being pregnant is the end of the world, then you need to change that mindset. Work hard and achieve the goals you have set for yourself.”

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