Litia Naitanui receives her Order of Fiji medal from the outgoing President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau at the Government House in Suva yesterday.
RESIGNING from teaching after 16 years in the service to volunteer is no regret for Litia Naitanui.
Ms Naitanui spent 16 years in teaching early childhood, but three years ago she resigned from the Education Ministry to be a full-time volunteer.
Originally from Vutia Village in Rewa, Ms Naitanui now finds peace in sharing awareness on experiences of persons with disabilities.
Through her work over the past three years, Ms Naitanui, 50, said she wanted to show the world that persons with disabilities could also achieve as much as able-bodied persons.
Yesterday, she was one of the recipients of the Order of Fiji medal for service with a special recognition. Ms Naitanui said as a disabled person herself, she believed that she would be the best person to talk about issues faced by the disabled community.
This got her to start volunteering for persons with disability and to fight for “inclusive development” in the community.
“I never thought of receiving anything when I volunteered to do awareness in the Central Division about the difficulties we face as persons with disability and the need for inclusive development,” Ms Naitanui said.
“16 years of teaching from Vutia in Rewa, Dilkusha Primary to the Nadi Airport School and back to Tavua when I decided to resign, the Education Ministry informed me that they have just increased salaries for teachers, but when I weighed it, I thought that the lives of my friends who were also faced with disabilities was more important to me.”
After receiving her medal from President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, she said she hoped that this would speak volumes about how much they could achieve even though they were born with a disability.