All Nazneen Begum could remember of her childhood days was the struggles her mother endured trying to put food on the table.

Her father, who was the sole breadwinner of the family and worked for Northern Transport Ltd, sadly passed away in 2006 leaving behind a wife and three children.

Miss Begum was 11 years old at the time, attending Bethel Primary School in Labasa.

After the death of her father, they were fortunate to be recipients of Government’s social welfare scheme.

“It was a real life struggle for us. I remember my mother going around asking for help so that we, her children, could survive,” said the now 22-year-old.

“Even though we did not have much, there was love in the family and we are thankful to the Social Welfare Department and other good-hearted people and organisations that supported us.

“Mum did her best to ensure that there was food for us to eat. She ensured we went to school and for me growing up, it was as if there was no problem at home.

“My mother worked tirelessly and she ensured that we had a good time while growing up.”

After completing her secondary education at Labasa Sangam College in 2013, Miss Begum enrolled at the Fiji School of Nursing. She graduated and is now awaiting her posting.

“My hope is to be posted at the Labasa Hospital because that way I can look after my mother. I wish to thank FENC Fiji (Foundation for the Education of Need Children Fiji) for helping me when I was in school until I graduated.

“If it was not for them I don’t know whether I would have been able to graduate.”

In the face of difficult times and uncertainty, hope, faith and love are the keys to overcoming these challenges.

“Never lose hope because God is always there. Struggles lead to success,” she added.

As a word of advice to children who are going through trying times at home with their parents or guardians, Miss Begum said: “No matter how old you may be, you will always be your parents’ children so respect them and give them the love they deserve.

“You can never repay their love. The least you can do is work hard in school and make your parents proud.”

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