With Covid cases soaring in their homeland, a group of Fijian workers from Edmund Hillary Retirement Village have turned to Ryman Healthcare for help.
Aruna Prakash, a caregiver in the village’s special care unit, was contacted by her sister-in-law Shanta Singh who told her that families were struggling to buy food.
With shops closed and people unable to earn money as the number of cases is now over 700, the situation was getting desperate for many and Shanta asked Aruna if there was anything she could do to help from New Zealand.
“They have so many cases there now and they don’t have very many masks,” says Aruna, who lives in Favona, Auckland.
“I phoned Resident Services Manager Janine (Aitken) and she contacted head office and they gave us this amazing gift.”
Ryman Healthcare immediately responded to the call by despatching five cartons of surgical masks – 10,000 masks worth $20,000 – to be urgently sent to Fiji.
“They arrived the next day. I was so surprised and so grateful,” she said.
Aruna said her sister-in-law and her nephew Sanjeet would help to distribute the masks to those who needed them most.
Meanwhile, Aruna and her 20 Fijian colleagues from the village were sending money and food parcels to their friends and family to do their bit to help.
Some team members have worked at the village for up to 14 years and think of their teammates as their work family.
SCU dining assistant Anita Dayal said now everyone was worried about their families back home.
“Some of them are just surviving on biscuits or tea. The NGO’s are helping them wherever they can but it’s too much for them I think.”
SCU Senior caregiver Vasga Naidu said the team was incredibly grateful to Ryman for the donation.
“We want to extend our thanks to Ryman Healthcare for this generous gift. It will really help the people in Fiji at a time when they need it most.
“They are starting to open up the shops again so that people can earn money but the situation is still not safe.
“This really means a great deal to us,” he said.
Ryman Group Chief Executive Gordon MacLeod said the Covid-19 situation in Fiji was concerning, and Ryman was happy to help.
“We were pleased that Aruna came to us for help and we were more than happy to lend a hand.
“We have a number of Fijian team members and we know how concerned they are about the people back home.
“The more PPE they have the better as they attempt to stamp out the infection.”