Fiji Volunteer Project - Emily Dingley

Laidlaw Scholar Emily Dingley, a Sports and Exercise Science Student from Leeds University, reflects on her experiences of Fijian culture, global learning and volunteering with Think Pacific in the Fiji Islands.

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Supporting the Ministry of Health's Education Programmes & immersing into Fijian culture.

Emily is coming to the final few days of her Think Pacific programme in the Fiji Islands. The project is based on the remote Lomaiviti Island of Moturiki, where for the past month a team of Laidlaw Scholars have been living a very traditional and back-basics island life.  

Immersing into a rural community and living with Fijian families, the team have bonded closely with local people, whilst working on youth, health and education programmes for the Fijian Ministry.  

 “It’s been an incredible experience living with a Fijian family. It's really inspired me for when I get back home - to use everything around me really effectively and share with my community and friends” 

The Scholars have been delivering the ‘Towards a Healthy Fiji Islands programme’, an initiative directed by the Wellness Centre at The Fijian Ministry of Health.  The programme aims to develop seven core aims of holistic health for Fijian children with the ultimate outcome of reducing non-communicable diseases, which the Fijian Ministry describe as a 'rising crisis' in Fiji's youth.

During the month, the scholars have been designing sports and activity engagement programmes, running extracurricular youth clubs, leading advocacy sessions and learning from and supporting the capacity of Fijian teachers and community members as they shadow local professionals and act as Teaching Assistants.  

The scholars will be delivering presentations this weekend in front of the Former National Health Advisor for Fiji, describing what they've achieved, their learning outcomes and their experiences of Fijian culture and daily life.

Through delivering the project aims, Emily's biggest personal development came in “My self-awareness and working with other volunteers”.  And her biggest reflection from Fijian life?  “I’ve learnt you don’t need much to be happy, just to appreciate the small things”

Think Pacific

Think Pacific is a volunteer project, a self-development program and a culturally immersive exchange. As a UK social enterprise and registered Fijian charity, we work with the Fijian government to achieve the aims of the Fiji National Development Plan in remote Fijian communities. Our projects are a two-way process. We improve the life-skills, global understanding and personal development of both Fijian young adults and international young adults through collaborative learning and action projects.