27 Jun 2002

Child advocate informs overseas sponsors of child needs

11:06 am on 27 June 2002

Save the Children Fiji's child rights officer says overseas people are only just starting to realise that children have been adversely affected by the recent polictical upheaval.

Mereia Carling has just returned from a trip to New Zealand where she was promoting the needs of children in Fiji.

Mrs Carling says while people talk about economic and political effects of the May 2000 coup, not may people realise that the nation's children have suffered as well.

Mrs Carling says people were surprised by the severity of child poverty in Fiji.

"People realise that there was a higher demand than they probably previously realised. A lot of people, have the perception that Fiji is a happy tropical island with smiling children and there isn't major poverty in Fiji, but there are quite great needs in Fiji, especially with things like water and sanitation."

Mereia Carling says her organisation has recently joined with a local theatre group which allows children to express their feelings through drama and art.