Fiji is much more than idyllic palm trees and white sand. Blessed with rich forest, mineral and fishing resources, Fiji is one of the most developed Pacific Island economies and serves as a hub for many small island nations in the region.
However, a chronic lack of investment and under-employment pose obstacles to sustainable and equitable economic growth. Poverty and inequality continue to be a major challenge, with 31 percent of Fijian citizens living below the poverty line.
It is estimated that about 140,000 people, or 17 percent of Fiji’s population, live in substandard housing conditions in informal settlements. An estimated 80 percent of people living in these settlements live below the national poverty line, earning less than 90 Fiji dollars (US$50) a week.
The rising cost of living and disasters such as 2016’s Cyclone Winston increased the poor’s vulnerability. The poorest households also lack piped water, adequate sanitation, electricity or rubbish disposal.
In the aftermath of recent disaster, volunteering through Global Village enables volunteers to work with families in need to develop disaster resilient housing.