A tin shack may strike many as a dangerous place to be in. But it is far better for the vulnerable who used to live on the streets of Lautoka.
Ask Luisa Keresi, a 49-year-old single mother of five children who’s fallen on hard times, kicked out of her home, and living on the streets.
She is now one of 10 residents at Daulomani Safe Home in Tomuka, Lautoka, which is looked after by United Rescue Mission president, Divina Loloma.
The safe house, though modest as it looks, has become a refuge for these individuals. It has been operating for a little over a year.
The safe house has a mix of vulnerable individuals it reaches out to including sex workers, single mothers, members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) group, and youths.
Ms. Keresi said those living at the home were like family to her.
“They always call me mum, they’re my family,” she said. “I feel safe here.”
Rochelle Naulunimagiti, also a resident, has been living on the streets of Lautoka since February last year.
“I came to the home in September,” Rochelle said.
“This is a healing place for me after what I have been through in life.
“The streets were where I found love and my family.”
Help such as that from former Corrections officer and assistant president of United Rescue Mission, Vika Vereivalu is available for the residents.
“I’m really happy that I can be an extra tool to assist building these people up and encouraging them to be somebody and work towards whatever they intend to achieve,” she said.
Plans to upgrade the home are in the pipeline.
Ms Loloma said the group was looking for funders to help construct a proper home.
Home co-ordinator Edwina Biyau said the Home started off with just a tarpaulin and some supplied corrugated iron.