Caritas in Fiji
He was brought up by his family in a settlement in Wailoku, just outside Suva, the capital of Fiji. For the first 5 years he lived with his mother, father and 7 other siblings in a makeshift shelter. They then moved into the shelter pictured behind which is still used today. Like many people living in the settlements, his family were unable to gain access to land, housing, education or business support.
Semiti helped start PCN to address these issues and has become a leading advocate for his community through the PCN which is Caritas Australia’s partner in Fiji.
PCN is a movement that aims to empower people in Fiji’s vulnerable squatter settlements to work collectively to address the lack of access to appropriate housing, education, livelihoods and health care and advocate for their rights.
The PCN’s Squatter Settlement Advocacy program focuses on advocacy, healthcare, education and employment for landless people. PCN are linked with 101 out of the 220 settlements across the country.
25% of the population in Fiji live in informal or ‘squatter’ settlements in and around the main cities. They are landless, have limited income sources, and have difficulties with accessing education. Many settlements do not have access to public services such as roads, water supply, electricity and rubbish collection. Most families living in the settlements come to the cities looking for better work and education opportunities from rural areas and outlying islands and end up living in the settlements. Some families have been living in the same settlement for generations.