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Catholic Education South Australia

Week Five: Semiti's story

Semiti grew up in an informal or 'squatter' settlement in Fiji. He is now Director of the People's Community Network, supported by Caritas Australia, which empowers thousands of landless Fijians living in informal settlements.

Semiti grew up in an informal, or ‘squatter’, settlement in Fiji. More than a quarter of Fiji’s people live in these settlements, with little hope of finding permanent housing and land. Their situation is particularly vulnerable – many live in unstable shelters, and there is a constant threat of extreme climate events. Children have few opportunities for education, and unemployment levels are high. There is little access to public services such as roads, water supply, electricity and garbage collection.

Now Semiti is working together with other residents of informal settlements to make positive changes. He is the Director of the People’s Community Network (PCN), which Caritas Australia supports. PCN helps empower landless people in Fiji, enabling them to address the issues that affect their lives.

The network helps people in each settlement to advocate together to improve their living conditions. They work in committees on issues relating to health and hygiene; care of the elderly and of women who need empowerment; education needs; and unemployment.

View the video of Semiti’s story here

Click here to find out more about Fiji where Semiti and his family come from.


“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” Matthew 7:12

How does this relate to you and the people like Semiti that participate in Caritas Australia programs? What is one thing you can do today that demonstrates how you would want people to treat you?

Family conversations:

Talk with your children about the kinds of things they appreciate people doing for them. Discuss how they can do the same for others.

Pray together:

For our brothers and sisters throughout the world who are pushed to the edges of society and whose value and potential are not recognised: That their silent voices may be raised in hope.

We Pray as One.

For our school community: That we may respond to the call of Jesus to ‘come forth’ and be recognised as people of freedom whose actions reflect the love and compassion of Jesus.

We Pray as One.

Act together:

Until recently, the hundreds of thousands of Fijians living in informal settlements – a quarter of the population – were unaware of their rights to land, housing, education and services like good roads and water supplies. Since being linked with the People’s Community Network, supported by Caritas Australia, they have been empowered to speak up for themselves and claim what is rightfully theirs. Raise awareness and experience displacement. You could consider sponsoring your children for completing homework outside with limited options! Donate the money raised to Project Compassion.

Use #ProjectCompassion online to tag photos of your efforts!


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