The Fiji Islands are some of the most iconic in the world, with over 330 in total. When asked what people believe paradise looks like, many would describe something that looks just like our islands – tropical waters with white sandy beaches that are lined with coconut trees. Yet as time moves on, a growing number of islands are struggling to maintain their traditional Fijian culture, largely due to tourism and rural-urban drift.
Tourism can be hugely beneficial in terms of bringing an income to villagers, but an outsider’s lack of knowledge regarding the Fijian culture means that many traditions get neglected and eventually forgotten about. Additionally, rural-urban drift is happening more than ever as Fijians are leaving their islands and are resorting to a life on the mainland. This is all so that they can earn enough money to send their children to secondary school, as it is so difficult to earn an income on the remote islands.
This is where we believe that Bula Batiki is pioneering sustainable island development in a truly unique way.
Within Batiki, we recognise how incredibly special our culture is, and we want to do everything that we can to ensure that our history also remains our present. Skills such as basket weaving (for transporting vegetables), how to catch fish with spears, and how to farm our own food are passed down through generations on the island. These are skills that we never want to forget.
Our dream is to ensure that we sustainably produce and market our products so that we can maintain our lives in Batiki, and we hope that one day our relatives that moved away will return to their island homes. We have already seen a decline in the number of our Batiki youths that fish in our reef to generate their income as they are now producing coconut oil, which is having a hugely positive effect on our sea-life.
This positive development is where our island dream lies, and we are more determined than ever to ensure that we create the opportunities for our children to have a life on the island, whilst at the same time providing the much-needed income for our outer islands.
We would like to thank each and every one of your for making our island dreams become a reality by supporting Bula Batiki.