Joshko Wakaniyasi of IDEA – a programme advocating for jobs for persons with disabilities in mainstream employment in Fiji – will be a recipient of a 2013 Pacific Human Rights Award
Four organisations and two individuals from the region will be honoured with Pacific Human Rights Awards today.
The courageous and innovative individuals and organisations whose stories have been documented in various forms for this year’s theme – human rights in everyday Pacific life – will receive their awards at a ceremony at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, FBE conference room from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
This year’s awardees include Joshko Wakaniyasi, Director of Fiji’s Spinal Injury Association; Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC); the Rainbow Theatre Group of Vanuatu; Teta Etau of Kiribati’s School for Disabled; Chelcia Gomese; and Rowena Wemahanua of Solomon Islands.
An excited Joshko Wakaniyasi, who will be receiving the award for outstanding contribution to advancing the rights of persons with disabilities to employment in Fiji through the IDEA Programme (Include Disability Employ this Ability), is ever grateful to the Regional Rights Resource Team of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community for the recognition of their work in Fiji.
'The award will greatly benefit the Spinal Injury Association and its members. It will go a long way towards making visible our achievements and services in Fiji and it will give confidence to donors and open up the door for other opportunities,' Mr Wakaniyasi said.
Since taking the reigns of the Spinal Injury Association in 2007, Joshko Wakaniyasi transformed a struggling, cash-strapped organisation into an efficient provider of crucial medical supplies, equipment and support services for its members. His amiable yet determined approach when negotiating with private sponsors, donors and overseas charities has secured the delivery of seven shipments of wheelchairs, crutches, walking frames, toilet and shower chairs and other aids to support people with disabilities and their carers in Fiji.
The Pacific Human Rights Awards are presented biennially to reward and celebrate outstanding work in human rights in the region and are an opportunity not only to give public recognition to the achievements of the recipients, but also to send a clear message to human rights defenders region wide that the Pacific community is grateful for, and supports, their tireless efforts to promote human rights for all.
The awards are open to all Pacific Island nationals who have demonstrated a high degree of commitment to social justice and human rights, as well as having made significant contributions to human rights promotion or protection in their countries or the region through an extended period of dedicated work (paid or voluntary).
In 1998, SPC RRRT won the prestigious UNICEF Maurice Pate Award for its pioneering work in promoting human rights education for women and children in the Pacific. Since then, SPC RRRT has been offering the Pacific Human Rights Awards to encourage the development of a human rights culture that will protect the rights and promote the well-being of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.
The Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) is a programme under the Education, Training and Human Development Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). RRRT provides training, technical support, policy and advocacy advice in human rights to promote social justice and good governance throughout the Pacific region. RRRT receives core support from Australian Aid and additional project support from UN Women and other donor partners.
The 2013 awards include;
IDEA (Include Disability Employ this Ability) Program, Fiji
Outstanding contribution to advancing the rights of persons with disabilities through the IDEA Program in Fiji
APTC Australia-Pacific Technical College
Outstanding contribution to advancing the rights to housing and employment on Upolu Island, Samoa, after Cyclone Evan in 2012
Rainbow Theatre Group, Vanuatu
Outstanding contribution to advancing the rights of persons with disabilities in Vanuatu through theatre
Kiribati School for the Disabled
Outstanding contribution to advancing the rights of persons with disabilities at the School for the Disabled in Kiribati
Chelcia Gomese of Solomon Islands
Special recognition for highlighting the right to education through creative writing
Rowena Wemahanua of Solomon Islands
Special recognition for highlighting human rights through creative drawing
For more information, please contact Jilda Shem, SPC RRRT Communications Officer on +679 330 5994 or email [email protected]