Seru Rabeni Memorial Kindergarten opens to fulfil former Fiji international’s legacy, with help of Discovery Bay Pirates where he was coaching before death.
Rabeni, who died at just 37 in 2016, had long wanted to give back to people in his home village and was working on the kindergarten project at the time of his death.
Rabeni’s partner Susan Macdonald has carried on the big Fijian’s dream with the help of the Discovery Bay Pirates, where Rabeni was coaching before his death.
“Whilst rugby had presented Seru with opportunities, he knew rugby could not offer the same to all the children in his village and felt the only way forward was through education,” Macdonald said.
“When Seru was a young child and still until today, the pre-schoolers used the village hall but classes are understandably cancelled when there are other village events.
“Then from Class 1 – five to six years old – the children needed to leave the village on Monday and return Friday as they have to travel to the next village.”
The Pirates and the wider Hong Kong rugby community have played a big hand in the project and the “Sponsor a Child & Teacher” initiative was launched in Hong Kong this week.
A host of donors from the Hong Kong rugby community pledged sponsorship to all 30 of the kindergarten’s students to ensure they can afford schooling, as well as sponsoring the kindergarten’s teacher to ensure the village will continue to have access to education.
The kindergarten was financed by the Seru Rabeni Fund – which has drawn support from the rugby community worldwide – and was supported by Fiji’s Ministry of Education.
According to the facility’s manager, the kindergarten “is the best in the northern area of Fiji”.
As well as the kindergarten’s structure, the Fund also provided a solar power system with batteries to provide electricity, school furniture, books, toys and clothes.
The Nasolo Young Boys Sevens team – which was founded by Rabeni – are also better off thanks to a range of equipment, including weights, an exercise bike and a treadmill.