VOLUNTEER SPOT LIGHT
Meet Esala Delana, dedicated and long-serving volunteer at the Sigatoka Branch in our Western Division. His Branch covers the Nadroga Navosa province, one of Fiji’s fourteen provinces and one of eight located on Viti Levu, the country’s largest island.
Esala leads a team of over 20 volunteers in the Nadroga-Navosa province, representing various communities within the region.
A typical day for this devoted group involves unique journeys, such as horseback riding through the mountainous Navosa province or crossing rivers and dunes to reach communities in Nadroga. A lot of the work happening right now is with the Community Based Surveillance (CBS) program that works closely with Community Health workers in different villages.
Esala makes a trip once a month to the most remote areas in the Navosa province. Sometimes, these visits keep him up in the mountains depending on the weather. This is the same for most volunteers in this Branch who will journey in-land to take life-saving messages on Leptospirosis, Typhoid, Dengue or Diarrhoea (LTDD) or to conduct Disaster preparedness activities.
Despite the absence of a dedicated office or meeting space, Esala and the volunteers manage by gathering in their homes or organizing meetings in the town area.
Running a Branch certainly presents its challenges, but Esala remains optimistic and eager to collaborate closely with the Branch volunteers and the communities they serve, despite the obstacles he encountered when assuming this role earlier this year.
He recently shared insights into his greatest source of inspiration, his mother. He emphasized her remarkable strength as a single parent, successfully providing for their family and ensuring their well-being. Esala commended his mother’s unwavering commitment, even in the face of challenging circumstances.
Reflecting on his personal journey, Esala expressed how it has shaped his understanding of the people he currently leads. He highlighted the diversity of experiences within the group, emphasizing that each individual possesses a unique life story, faces distinct challenges, and is driven by personal motivations.
Esala shared his aspiration to earn the respect and trust of both the volunteers in his care and the communities they serve. He firmly believes that by fostering such relationships, their collective potential for making a meaningful impact will be greatly enhanced.
Esala candidly shares his thoughts on volunteering:
“My journey as a volunteer began in an unexpected way. I was only 9 years old when I followed a friend to a meeting, enticed by the promise of delicious food. It was my introduction to the Junior Red Cross. Over 30 years later, I find myself serving as the President of the Sigatoka Branch, responsible for the Nadroga-Navosa province. I believe that everyone’s path to volunteering is unique. Some stumble upon it, while others wholeheartedly embrace the call. Some may even come and go. However, when you truly answer the call to volunteer, you experience the incredible power of humanity. Your heart leads the way, often overruling your mind. You do things as if you were a superhero. Yet, when you return home, your body reminds you that you’re approaching 40 and need to take it easy.
The most important message I want to convey is the importance of doing the right thing. Wearing a ‘volunteer’ badge with pride is only meaningful if your actions align with your beliefs. I know exceptional Red Cross volunteers, but I also know extraordinary individuals who aren’t volunteers but selflessly contribute to society. It’s not about being a Red Cross volunteer; it’s about always doing what’s right, no matter how small the act. That said, I am immensely proud to be a Red Cross volunteer. I wear my badge with honour and seize every opportunity to advocate not just for the Red Cross but for what we represent – a life of service, voluntary service to our fellow beings.”
If you would like to support the Sigatoka Branch with activities they do in the Nadroga/Navosa province or make a donation, you may reach out to us:
Phone – +679 331 4133
Email – email@example.com
facebook, twitter, Instagram, Linkedin – @fijiredcross