Stitching a safety net for Fijians impacted by COVID-19
“It was a very big help in my life especially when I had nothing,” says Kiniviliame, reflecting on how a cash transfer from Save the Children allowed him to feed his family during the pandemic.
Kiniviliame is a single dad to five children, all under 12. They live together in one room in a public housing block on the outskirts of Suva, Fiji’s capital.
The father had worked as a bartender before the pandemic. “When COVID-19 hit, we had to close down the nightclub,” Kiniviliame says. “Up until today there is nowhere else, and I am still looking for work,” he explains. “I have dropped my application everywhere, but no one has approved it.”
Kiniviliame and his children are some of the countless Fijians who fell through the gaps when COVID-19 hit. Given there is almost no social welfare system in Fiji, people who couldn’t work during the pandemic simply had no income.
The pressures of the pandemic also took their toll at home. Becoming emotional, Kiniviliame says, “When I became unemployed, that’s when my family broke up.”
The single dad has found it incredibly difficult to provide for his children since he lost work.