Woman & Children Commune Fiji

Provide well needed care and support for this community made up of almost 400 people from dis-advantaged backgrounds. Home to predominantly single mums, their children and some extended family, it is a place which will greatly benefit from an extra set of hands. Volunteers from all backgrounds and skills are needed.

we need you in Fiji

  • Approx 34% of the population in Fiji live below the poverty line
  • Rates for education and literacy are low, making it hard for many local people to find skilled work
  • Lack of adamant nutrition is prominant in Fiji, increased by the cheap imported food available, leading to obesity problems, as well as problems such as type 2 diabetes & micronutrient deficiencies
  • Malutrition is also seen in Fiji, particually with the under 5's, showing signs such as stunted growth and wasting (loosing muscle mass)

can you help?

  • There are many areas you can help in from childcare, medics & nurses, social services, construction, administration, counselling and more
  • Anyone can help on this project, although people with specialist skills would be a huge advantage
  • Provide an extra set of hands in numerous areas, helping to ease the workload on local staff
  • Bring along a caring nature, installing confidence, inspiration and motivation in the women

APPLY NOW

Ready to volunteer abroad? Complete your application online in about 5 min.

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NEED MORE INFO?

Not sure which program is right for you? Contact us for more info

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can you do?

  • Assist local staff in caring for children and babies at the commune
  • Teach the children English and other subjects, improving their chances for a better future
  • Listen to the women and come up with practical solutions to their issues
  • Specialist skills are welcome, such as doctors to perform health checks
  • Assist on a women empowerment program, helping them to build their own income

Why Involvement Volunteers International?

  • Non Profit Org & Charity with 30+ Years Experience
  • 16 Projects to Choose From in Fiji
  • Social Experiences - Sharing with International Volunteers
  • Excellent Safety Record, In-Country 24/7 Support & Emergency Assistance
  • 1 Application Fee - Multiple Countries
fiji volunteering sports and english teaching program with IVI

  PROJECT NAME: WOMAN & CHILDREN COMMUNE

LOCATION: LAUTOKA

  START DATES: WEEKLY (SAT/SUN ARRIVALS) 

  ACCOMMODATION: HOMESTAY

  MIN DURATION: ONE WEEK

  MIN AGE: 16+

  SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: N/A

  PROJECT COSTS: US$350 + APPLICATION FEE 

Overview

Background Information

This community is made up of almost 400 people, divided into 9 villages consisting of 4-5 flats, home to 4 different families. It is a place for ‘disabled’ people, predominantly single mums and their children and/or extended family. The community receives some government support and social assistance but has very limited resources and can really use a helping hand. Unfortunately, pleas for help by the passionate community administration staff regularly go unanswered.

There is a strict guideline for applying to tenant in this community which helps to keep harmony amongst families, although there is usually always issues and problems arising in human nature.  

The workload for the community staff is immeasurable and ongoing, and the community would greatly benefit from extra sets of hands, either by placing full time citizens in some of the above roles from the Suva office or sourcing constant support in the way of volunteers.

Role of volunteers

The role of our volunteers is varied, but ultimately, you are there to offer an extra set of hands to help lessen the burden of day to day operations around the commune, so that the residents can utilize their time in pursuit of economic opportunity to help bring themselves and their family out of poverty. Volunteers are expected to bring a positive can do attitude and a willingness to help those less fortunate. Typically, this involves between 4-6 hours of volunteer assistance at the commune during Monday to Friday. Upon orientation, you’ll be assigned a coordinator who will help you integrate into the community so that you can feel at home and welcome here.  

Core Operating Values

As a charitable organisation serving a multitude of families and individuals the following values are central to the community;

Caring Attitude– Compassionate and support to poor people and their families providing caring and support and empowerment. 

Respectfulness – Respect and encouragement of each person to take control of their own life

Diversity – An understanding that people from all ethnic backgrounds, and relegions may need caring support and assistance from time to time.  

Advocacy – Education for the public on the community based values in order to build advocates for increased awareness and further support.  

Social Services 

With the community made up of mostly woman and children from severely disadvantaged backgrounds, there are various challenges with negative belief systems, emotional & physical scarring that require qualified social workers trained in social work, psychiatry and various mental health disciplines. Even those without formal qualifications can have a positive impact. We’re looking for people with a strong mindset, and caring can do attitude who are willing to listen to the stories of these woman and offer support and the way of positive energy, belief, hope and refreshed spirit. Anyone can help, simply by taking the time to listen and offer practical help in various ways.

Kindergarten & Teaching Project

Unfortunately, even in today’s day and age, not everyone has the luxury of basic education. Beginning with basic education is the first step to leading a life with opportunity, in order to deliver basic education the kids need a classroom of their own.

The kindergarten makes use of the community hall with classes running 8am-11am. (teachers finish approx. 12pm) Unfortunately, there is no dedicated classroom for the students and teachers to make use of.  As this is a shared spaced, disagreements about the state of the hall occur between the various youth groups, church gatherings & village meetings. In terms of school supplies these are provided annually by the head office in Suva.

There are 36 students registered (aged 3-5 years) with around 20+ in attendance each day. Two teachers certified (USP or FNU) in Early Childhood teaching run the class. The students come from within the community housing as well as the surrounding farmland areas. Travelling to school on foot or by bus.

Classroom Construction Project

A dedicated classroom built for the community would immensely aid the facilitation of teaching the students, in a nurturing environment that is solely for the care and education of the students. Teachers wouldn’t have to worry about equipment & supplies being misused; class could run for a full day instead of only a few hours, members of the community would then have their hall back to regular use without education paraphernalia covering the walls and ceiling.

For this to happen, materials and volunteers skilled in construction are required. 

Community Support & Administration

With so many ongoing social, environmental and physical needs, volunteers need only some care, motivation and creativity to assist with various community needs such as;

  • Office administration & paperwork (bring your own laptop)
  • Healthcare (Nutritionists, Doctors, Nurses well needed)
  • Repair of a flat destroyed in Cyclone Winston
  • Assisting with tenant applications
  • Gardening
  • Finance
  • Building Maintenance & repairs
  • Creative/ cultural workshops
  • Counselling services

Location 

Lautoka, located 20 min north of Nadi, is a lovely and safe working class harbour city with many areas to explore (eg. hiking trails, mud pools etc). You will be spending time in the working class areas where the genuine needs exist.

Project Tasks

– Kindergarten assistant teaching
– Woman’s empowerment teaching
– Micro-business & economic empowerment
– Renovation and grounds maintenance
– Office administration & computer skills education

Project Hope - Elena Rowland

“My mission was to see what kept these women pushing forward despite going through life’s toughest hardships. I had one question for them. What do you hope for?​”
El gave up her Christmas & campaigned to raise $3000 to fund 1 years rent for each of these deserving woman…(read more) 

How to best use your skills on the project?

One of our past volunteers, Jess has some great insights into what she learnt whilst volunteering at the women’s commune.
Check out her review to find inspiration on the types of things you may be able to get involved in and set up…(read more)
hart community lautoka volunteering

Food & Accommodation

Enjoy living like a Fiji local. You’ll have your own single or twin share room within private, clean and safe western style homes. You will have a place to store your personal belongings, a private bathroom and toilet (where possible – not all placements include this), a fan and single mattress or double/queen if sharing with your partner. Some home stays have self contained flats separate from the main residence. You can choose this option if desired. Internet is usually not included with most volunteers purchasing a temporary 3G plan for their own device.

Meals are included and served at the host family for breakfast and dinner with lunch on site. A typical day may consist of (subject to variation):

Breakfast – cereal, bread, butter etc, tea, coffee, milo. Volunteers can make their own eggs should they wish.
Lunch – Volunteers to prepare their own sandwich. Tuna, cold meat, salad, eggs. Some prefer to take left over dinner from the night before for lunch.
Dinner – Cooked meal (eg. stews, soups, curries, fish, roast vegetables, taro, sweet potato, bread, rice etc.

 

Testimonials...

FAQ...

Prior experience with children is highly desired for childcare related fields. Experienced doctors, nurses, counsellers, physios and anyone else with speciast skills are extremely welcome here.

For those with no prior experience, there are still a number of areas that you could get involved in. Please contact our team if you require any more info. 

  • Accommodation  (Home Stays – Sharing with other volunteers)
  • 2 meals p/day (Breakfast & Dinner)
  • Arrival Airport transfer to Canggu
  • Return transfers from from Canggu to Seraya
  • In-country qualified healthcare practitioner coordinator
  • ‘Love our earth’ Bali survival kit (what’s in it?   It’s a surprise!)
  • Filtered drinking water, coffee & tea daily
  • Full day orientation & training + cultural sightseeing
  • In country 24/7 coordination & emergency assistance
  • Fundraising support
  • University course credits (where applicable)
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Airfares
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tours, Souvenirs & spending money

The Home Stay placements involve a simple and effective orientation which includes a tour of the local area and an overview of the project including any necessary permits, paperwork and logistics. In most cases you will have 1 to 2 days to ease your way into the culture and settle into your new surrounds before commencing in your designated program.

The Volunteer Center placements also have a 1 day orientation or you can choose to do a dedicated orientation week to get you familiar with the Fijian culture. Orientation is hosted in either Suva or the Coral Coast depending on where you’ve chosen to stay. It begins on the first Monday morning of your volunteer program and includes an Introduction to Fiji, culture and customs, local excursions, cooking and art, rules and expectations, safety, introduction to the project and placement. 

For home stay placements, arrival and departure airport transfers are included in the cost of your volunteer program for a pick-up from Nadi to the Nadi / Lautoka areas. 

Transportation to/from your home stay to the placement each day is generally your responsibility, however your home stay family will assist you and ensure you receive local rates for any costs involved. We’ll place you as close as possible to the placement to limit daily travel times. Expect between 5-30 min each way for a small local transport fee (approx $2 p/day). Travelling by bus in Fiji is an experience of it’s own! 🙂

For volunteer center placements, an arrival airport transfer from Nadi to the Coral Coast or Suva is included for pick-ups on Sundays only. If arriving on other days, you’ll need to make your own way to the placement. 

If arriving on the Saturday, you’ll need to book an extra nights accommodation in advance at a cost of US$50 p/night including meals. Travel time by bus between Nadi and Suva is approx 3-4 hours, or 2 hours to Coral Coast. Local travel to the projects each day is included it the cost of the program fee.

Typically, this involves between 4-6 hours of volunteer assistance at the commune during Monday to Friday. Upon orientation, you’ll be assigned a coordinator who will help you integrate into the community so that you can feel at home and welcome here.  

Each day can be different and very much depends on your prior skills, experience and where you will be best suited. There are numerous areas for you to get involved in. 

Weekends are always free for relaxing or sightseeing of your choice. Our ground operators will help you organize additional trips with special (non tourist) rates which can be paid directly in local currency.

Volunteers based in Nadi & Lautoka can choose from a wide variety of options with Nadi being the main tourist hub for Fiji and the Fijian Islands.

Volunteers based in the Coral Coast can spend the weekends exploring Suva, visiting Colo-I-Suva or Mosquito Island and searching the craft and produce markets in Suva’s town centre. From Pacific Harbour you can organize activities, such as kayaking, white-water rafting, shark feeding, jet ski tours, zip lining and diving.

  • A valid CRB check is needed for this placement.

Fiji is an archipelago of 330 tropical islands. It’s one of the most developed Pacific Island economies however, a chronic lack in investment and under-employment pose obstacles to sustainable and equitable economic growth in Fiji.

More than 250,000 people in the Fiji islands live in poverty and many more Fijians live on or just above the poverty line. Efficient delivery in health care, in education, in work opportunities and other social services are incredibly difficult in Fiji.

A great disparity exists between the working class communities and the multi-national owned tourism resorts which represent approx 25% of Fiji’s Gross domestic product. Sadly, much of the wealth generated from this sector does not filter down to the local communities.

IVI have a well established program in Fiji build by local Fijian’s with in depth understanding of the local needs. We have a have a variety of skilled and non skilled volunteering options for anyone seeking to live like a local far away from the trendy monotonous tourist resorts.

Fiji enjoys a hot and humid climate year round. Average temperatures range from 25°C to 30°C.

May to October is considered one of the best time to visit, as it’s the dry season. The wet season is from November to April. The island will recieve heavy rain, but in short outbursts. In July and August, temperatures can fall to as low as 18°C, making it a pleasent time to visit for those who enjoy cooler weather! 

The Fijian people have a strong sense of their own culture and customs and highly developed sense of honor. The locals are generally very friendly and welcoming. Within Fijian villages, tribal alliances are still intact and money does not play a significant role in their daily lives. Visitors are not always accustomed to the slow work pace (they call it “Fiji time”). Do not worry too much about this, just go with the flow!

30 Years Non Profit Experience

IVI is an Australian charity & non profit organisation founded in 1989 and is one of the pioneers of overseas volunteering successfully placing over 20,000 volunteers globally.

Affordable Volunteer Travel

We’re not motivated by shareholder profits. Our fees are fully transparent to ensure maximum benefit where it is most needed. 

Safe & Responsible Projects

All projects include a dedicated 24/7 in-country management team, operational & risk assessment & overseas support contact. All projects are personally inspected to ensure very high quality.

Work Experience & University Credits

We place thousands of Uni students and can assist you with course credits and in-field experience points. Many of our project coordinators are qualified practitioners in their respective fields allowing unique in-field supervision and Uni accreditation options

See More

Check out this amazing blog with step by step info on how to raise funds for your overseas volunteer experience to help maximize your impact abroad. Guide to Fundraising

Weekends & Extra Tours

Ready to Volunteer in Fiji?

placeholder - Woman & Children Commune Fiji

APPLY NOW

Ready to Volunteer abroad? Complete your application in about 5 min

placeholder - Woman & Children Commune Fiji

NEED MORE INFO?

Not sure which program is right for you? Contact us for more info

placeholder - Woman & Children Commune Fiji

SCHEDULE A CALL

Let's talk about it! Schedule your preferred time and date.

Some of Our Partners

Articles

Thank-you GJ Gardner Homes & TAFE QLD for helping rebuild this Kindergarten in Fiji!

About the Project The woman and children’s commune Lautoka houses 400 residents, mainly children and single mothers from disadvantaged backgrounds in Fiji.  The community receives social assistance but has limited resources and needs in many areas. See this blog. In 2016, Cyclone Winston completely demolished the make-shift kindergarten structure used for early childhood education. In October 2018, A dedicated classroom …

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Fiji Kindergarten Lautoka Volunteering Feedback

Hi Lauren,    Thank you so much for helping me with my volunteering adventure, I had a great experience! I have given some feedback below, hopefully you will find it helpful.    Fiji: Highlights: The highlight for me was the home stay option, being able to stay with a family and make a real connection was the best experience. I …

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Remote Fiji Construction Project Review by Chris

Thank you for this wonderful opportunity in helping out these beautiful people. I was blown away by the amount of aloha this little village possesses despite their living conditions. With their lack of running water and good food, I saw no one murmuring, angry, or depressed. Instead, I saw smiles all day and a lot of singing! It was life …

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Remote Fiji Construction Review by Penelope

The 3 days spent volunteering and helping out was such a rewarding experience, honestly had such a great time and didn’t want to leave when it came to our final day. Will definitely be coming back at some point in the near future to help out again. Highlights of the trip: – Helping out with the construction of the new …

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Construction Project Fiji Review by Andrew

Thank you so much, it definitely was an amazing experience! Highlights of the trip: The biggest highlight of the trip for me was the actual volunteering, and helping rebuild the kindergarten. I thoroughly enjoyed getting hands on and I was quite proud of what we achieved in the short amount of time we hand there. Playing footing with the local …

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Fiji Construction & Womens Commune Review

Highlights of the trip: Some highlights of my trip to Fiji were meeting some of the community in Lautoka where we undertook the volunteer work. The look of joy and happiness on the kindergarten children, teachers and members of the woman’s community while we were working on the kindergarten made me appreciated that I had the chance to do something …

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Fiji Construction Project Review by Travis

Thank you for letting me be apart of this journey this really an unforgettable trip and was great to see our cultural differences, I’m really thankful to have experienced that week. Highlights of the trip: Participating multiple times for their Kava Ceremony as well as being accomodated in the Home stays. The family that took care of us were so …

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Team TAFE Kindergarten Rebuilding Fiji

 This community in Lautoka is a charitable organization housing 400 residents from disadvantaged backgrounds living in poverty conditions in Fiji. Consisting mainly of single mothers and their children, the community receives social assistance but has very limited resources and significant needs in various areas. In 2016, Cyclone Winston completely demolished the make-shift kindergarten structure used for early childhood education. Unfortunately, …

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Donation of 1 Years rent to woman and children in Fiji

Project Hope Fiji Overview: Elena Rowland’s mission was to see what kept these women pushing forward despite going through life’s toughest hardships. El had one question for them. What do you hope for? Each day she went from hut to hut, sat on the floor with them and gained an insight into their lives. “As my compassion and empathetic nature …

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Project Hope Fiji – Woman & Children’s Commune – Elena Rowland

Hope Project:  Putting yourself in a position that changes your perspective, awakens your gratitude and offers hope to the less fortunate, was exactly what Travelee’s present project involved.  Volunteering is a great way of achieving this, so through an organisation called IVI, off I went to a women and children’s shelter in Fiji. My mission was to see what kept these …

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Woman & Children’s Commune Experience Fiji

Hi Lauren, I’ve finally been able to put all of my thoughts and scribbled notes about my trip into an actual email! Sorry it’s taken a bit longer than expected but it’s taken some time to adjust. Thank you again for such an incredible opportunity. My trip to Fiji has been life changing. I’m sure Jules has filled you in …

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Woman & Children’s Commune – Group Placement Fiji

Dear Lauren, Sorry about the belated reply. I’ve been very busy with lots of reports to write after I got back. Highlights of the trip: Home stay – It was terrific! Our family were very welcoming and catered a lot to our needs during our stay there. We had an amazing start of the trip with them briefing us through …

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Island Construction Review Fiji – 2017

  Hi Lauren, I had an amazing experience in Fiji! Highlights: -living with my host family, it was an amazing experience -the island!, it was such a cool experience and the views were amazing -being able to make a difference in the village Team,food, accomodation: -as for the team who helped me through the application process, they were amazing, and …

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