The MAA International (Muslim Aid Australia), a Non-Government Organisation has been commended by the Fijian Government for its wide assistance provided towards the rebuilding of lives of families affected by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.
In 2015, MAA started working in Fiji through 5 major development programs and in doing so the organisation has spent over FJD $1.5 million dollars. The programs in areas of education, housing, food aid, emergency relief and sustainable development has benefited over 4000 people Fiji wide, from all ethnic backgrounds.
As part of the housing assistance, MAA International has also spend over $292,454 in rebuilding of over 50 homes for families who lost all their belongings in cyclone Winston. The handing over of the keys for the 40 new homes built in the modular homes in the Clopcott settlement in Ba. Charity homes have also been built in areas of Ra and Nadi. The beneficiaries in Ba were presented with the keys for their new homes, yesterday by Minister for Health and Medical Services, Hon. Rosy Akbar.
Minister Akbar commended the MAA International Organisation for its tremendous support and commitment in the rebuilding the lives of families in Fiji.
“We are very thankful to all the partners, donors and NGO’s who have helped to rebuild the lives of families and one such organisation that has made a huge impact is MAA International. So on behalf of the Fijian Government and all the families that you have assisted, I would like to sincerely thank the team of MAA International for indeed making an extraordinary effort to reachout to the needy families.
“Such housing programs greatly compliments the Fijian Governments Help for Home Initiative. We look forward for strengthened collaboration with the MAA International to further broaden the opportunities for development in Fiji,” Minister Akbar elaborated.
Director MAA International Projects, Mr Saed Khan said all the projects are based on the principles of professionalism, best practices to assist the most needy communities, regardless of race or nationality.
“We are involved in 5 different programs in Fiji and all these are open to all people and one of the first one is the provision of education scholarship grants. In 2016, we assisted 65 students with scholarships to for tertiary education and we have spent about $315,000 in this education project. In terms of assistance during emergency, after TC Winston, we have distributed 33 tonnes of food rations benefiting the local economy at the time when it was needed.
“The other project is building of modular homes, we have already built 45 of it and 15 charity homes and we also provided building materials to families and in emergency we have spent half a million dollars this year. Last year, we have also distributed 5000 food aid packs to the families here last year. In total MAA International has spent over $1.5 million in Fiji and we are committed to same amount of aid in 2017 and onwards,” Mr Khan said.
For the 80 year Mr Ram Badan, getting new home was like a prayer being answered, after being homeless for the last 7 years he was living under the Ba Bridge.
“Living under the bridge was the most difficult time of my life. I didn’t have anywhere to go so I lived under the bridge, the thought of having a home was only a dream. And now I have a new home and I now have the opportunity to live among people who care for me. I am thankful to MAA for giving me this new life. I am also assisted by the social welfare assistance and with the new home, this assistance will go a long way in enabling me to live a dignified life,” Mr Badan said.
Mr Lekima Ratu, the 56 year old fisherman in Ba has also been assisted through MAA’s housing program.
“My house was destroyed in cyclone Winston and so far I had been staying with my Indian neighbour’s house. I am pleased that I have been assisted with the new house and I would like to thank the MAA International for this much needed assistance that is a relief for our families,” Mr Ratu said.
Each house is built with a cost of around $6000 and it has been designed by the engineers with certified standards and the structure is also expandable.