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Community Project in Fiji - living in a Fijian Village

Community Village project in Fiji

Whether you are volunteering on a gap year, summer placement or career break, if you want to get truly immersed in traditional Fijian culture, our Community Project based in a traditional Fijian village could be the perfect volunteer placement for you.

Volunteers on the Community Project need to be prepared to fully immerse themselves in the community and culture. You will get involved in all aspects of village life, including helping with teaching, farming, cooking, basket weaving, mat-making, tending to the gardens and wherever else they may need an extra pair of hands.

The villages are predominantly Methodist, and volunteers will be expected to attend church with their family. Mornings will mostly be spent assisting in the kindergarten or primary school, where any additional skills you can bring such as arts and crafts, sports, games and music will be very much appreciated. Some of the villages prefer to adopt a more traditional method to teaching, disposing of the modern day exam system in favour of more practical methods such as song and dance, as well as using a more hands-on approach to the standard subjects of maths, English and science.

Volunteers joining the community project will get away from the hustle and bustle of the towns, however all our villages are within 1 hours drive from either Nadi or Suva, so you will always be within easy reach of a Projects Abroad office. Depending on when you join the project there may or may not be other volunteers in the same village, so you must be prepared to be the only foreigner.

Community Volunteering in Fiji

Local children

Volunteers live with a Fijian host family, who will ensure that you soon feel at home and integrated into community life. You will live in the local, traditional manner, eating what the family eats. The villages have basic amenities, and not all homes will have full time electricity. In almost all cases only cold water will be available for washing, and some homes may have an outside toilet and washing facilities.

Fijian village life is very communal and friendly. Family homes are open to their neighbours, and the villagers live and work together. Evenings are generally family time where members of the extended families catch up on the day, play cards or maybe even sing along to the strumming of a guitar. Kava (a traditional drink made from the root of the Yaqona plant) often forms a major part of village life and most occasions happen around the Tanoa (the large bowl that the Kava is served from).

Fijian villages are presided over by a Chief; a hereditary role passed from father to son. The Chief will often preside over ceremonies. Each village will also have an elected Turaga ni Koro who acts as an administrator of mayor for the village. He plays a key role in the day to day running of the village.

Fijian culture sees the women doing the majority of the household work such as cleaning, cooking and looking after the children. Men concentrate on farming and fishing.

Volunteers should have a mature attitude and be able to work independently, as there may be minimal contact with other volunteers during the week. You will normally have the opportunity to meet up with other volunteers on the weekends should you wish to travel.

This project is available for two weeks if you don't have time to join us for a month or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for short term volunteering for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain a valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone volunteering for a longer period.

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