A Place I Call Home

Good old memories kept flooding back when lawyer Vinay Sharma returned to Chevalier Hostel in Suva yesterday.

“This is where it all began for me – where I discovered the real meaning of love and compassion. It’s a place I call home,” he said.

Vinay Sharma

The Suva-based Family Court Registrar was at the hostel at Rewa Street to support a mini-bazaar to raise funds for the hostel and the Chevalier Training Centre in Wainadoi, between Suva and Navua.

Chevalier is run by the Catholic Church’s Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC).

The training centre and the hostel accommodate boys who come from under-privileged families.

When his mother died, the Social Welfare placed him at the hostel.

He thanked the MSC for accommodating, and financially supporting him during his time of need.

“I’m the eldest of the four siblings and the life that we were brought up in was not easy,” he said.

He said that he was lucky that the Chevalier Youth Trust board accepted him in 1999 when he was a Year 9 student at Marist Brothers High School, before completing his degree in Law and Psychology at the University of the South Pacific in 2009.

“I had spent 10 years in the hostel.”

He was lucky because Chevalier Hostel existed for boys and youths who came out from a broken family.

“I stayed in the hostel without paying anything,” he said.

He said all his basic needs were all provided for by the board that looks after the hostel.

After completing Year 13 at MBHS, he was shocked when the Chevalier board, informed him of the man who was going to sponsor and pay for his tertiary fees at USP.

He said his sponsor was one of the board members of the Chevalier Youth Trust board.

“He was a businessman who supported me until I graduated from USP.”

He said hostel life was fun and the boys lived like a close-knit family.

“Today even though I have a happy family with a daughter, I keep coming back to visit the hostel and attend every activity organised by the MSC.

“I am now earning a living and I will never forget my MSC family.

“The MSC brothers, priests, and all those who were around the hostel always cared and loved us, and they treated us equally.

“And I acknowledge them for their kind heart. I would not have gone this far without the support of the MSC family.”

Director of the Chevalier Training Centre, Father Simon Mani, said the mini-bazaar was in aid of the Chevalier Training Centre in Wainadoi and Chevalier Hostel.

“We have been running this mini-bazaar for the last three years.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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