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FIP Group worker helps “river babies” star at Fijian nationals

When Rosivela “Ross” Dresu arrived in Australia from Fiji in 2020 he knew he would work hard. After all he was here not just to make a better life for his family but to represent his village and his entire country.

Two years later, the work has been tough but Ross says he and others from his village and other neighbouring communities are among the most respected workers at Bindaree Beef (on of FIP Group's valued partners) near Inverell in New South Wales.

“It’s difficult being away from our families but it’s important we know they and our communities appreciate what we are doing,” Ross said.

“I have four children and my youngest was born while I was here. My father worked away for months at a time when I was rowing up and I hope one day my children will understand why I’m away now.

“I was lucky to come to Australia because unemployment is eighty percent in my village and there is no Centrelink. If you don’t work you don’t have money.

“In my first few months at Bindaree I did a good job and my boss asked me if I had brothers or friends who could come and work hard like me. I knew there were boys at home who would understand the opportunity so I spoke to the village elders.

“When these boys were sent to Australia they first spoke to the Chief and the village elders. They told them you are going to Australia and representing the government, the village, your family.”

Ross says there are many ways he and his countrymen support their community through sending money home. Houses have been built, there are plans for a new church and children have opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise existed.

“There are a group of young swimmers at one of our schools who are very talented but couldn’t afford to attend the national championships,” Ross said.

“In my village ninety percent of the people work in tourism but with very few tourists they have no money for things like this.

“They train in the river and most had never swum in a pool before; that’s why they’re called the ‘river babies’. Along with their parents and local businesses, we were able to support them to get to the nationals and they won many gold medals between them!”

As one of the more experienced workers, Ross meets with the younger men each Sunday to talk about how they are going. He reminds them of why they are in Australia; how their parents worked hard for them and now it’s their turn. He’s also very proud of what they’ve achieved.

“In Fiji they couldn’t find work but here they are among the top workers. They’re making the most of their opportunities and because they have shown what the people of Fiji can do, 11 more will come here to work this month.”


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