Recently, I spent a few days with Janet Lotawa from Rise Beyond the Reef, a non-profit that aims to alleviate poverty in remote communities through a variety of programs.
The projects we covered in the handful of days we travelled, were predominately for empowering women by teaching them to produce marketable goods using traditional skills.
Our projects incorporate mechanisms for sustainable self-sufficiency.
We are developing opportunities for businesses, tourists and volunteers to connect appropriately and sustainably with remote communities.
Their latest project “Shelter from the Storm” focuses on communities that were extremely affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston. Verevere in Ra was one such village we visited. Virtually every structure in the village had been flattened by the cyclone, and four months later, this small community was still rebuilding with the help of volunteers. Portraits from here included a woman who had flashbacks of the storm every time she hung out her washing, as that’s what she was doing when the cyclone began. Sadly, she and many like her will have to try and work out their PTSD without proper counselling, as Fiji just doesn’t have the resources to cope with something of this magnitude.
Eremasi is often my able-bodied assistant on assignments, and occasionally gets in front of the camera if I think the light is looking cool, as is the case in the portrait below which was taken whilst we were doing an interior room shot at Nanuya Island Resort.
A multi-talented artist, he dabbles in Photography, Video and Music. He sings as E3, though ultimately he aspires to be a world class Music Producer. You can find some of his recent music on soundcloud here.