Learning for Life: FijiKids adopts AIME mentoring model
For over ten years, Fijikids Learning for Life has been providing financial support for deeply disadvantaged kids to attend school and university.
Based in Australia, the team is made up of a bunch of volunteers juggling the work they do with FijiKids with their day jobs.
For FijiKids team member Julie Hoskison, it has become increasingly clear that money is far from the only barrier to kids’ success. She believes it’s going to take a lot more to overcome generations of hardship, brutal living conditions and illiteracy in Fiji.
Now, FijiKids Learning for Life are giving kids in Fiji a taste of AIME experience. They’ve taken some of our program components and created FAME - Fijikids Mentoring Experience.
January 2020 - Sigatoka, Fiji - Mentees and mentors enjoying the first FAME program day. Images: Dani Finch + Masada Vuikadavu.
“It is strange how the universe works. Just as we were having conversations about the support that is required - not just financial - we heard about AIME. We hung out with AIME for a few days and fell in love with your mission, your madness and your model. We are in awe of what you have achieved. Our kids deserve the same – all kids do.
In January 2020, twenty of our university scholars, high school grads and alumni spent two days together focusing on our strengths, passions and dreams. In just a couple of days, we witnessed a truly fantastic transformation. The kids who had shuffled in and stared silently at their feet started sharing things they had never talked about before. Their eyes lit up and every story and every experience built just a little more trust, and a little more understanding. Within hours they could see amazing new possibilities and we could see they had each other’s backs.
January 2020 - Sigatoka, Fiji - Mentor Laota and mentee Peni connect over creating artworks. Images: Masada Vuikadavu.
A few days later, we held our annual Back to School Day for the 75 kids in our school program. It was not compulsory but every one of our FijiKid Mentors showed up to volunteer. We watched them support and make sure they the kids had everything they needed to go back to school. It was truly magical!
We don’t have funding, paid employees or even a travel budget to get there (so it’s a stretch) but we will be back in Fiji in July this year to do it all again.”