My name is Miriama Gemina Waqa and I am 20 years old. I am a Fijian iTaukei woman and was raised by my paternal grandmother when my parents separated at an early age. My grandmother would often remind me when I was growing up that life will not be easy, work hard and keep moving on with an optimistic outlook in life. I have taken her advice to heart, as I pursued my education and would often motivate me to keep working hard despite difficulties that I faced.
I attended Nadi Airport School for my primary education and went on to Adi Cakobau School for high school education. I am currently pursuing a Certificate IV in Carpentry, of which I have completed one year of study. I completed 2 months out of my final 6-month practical attachment when the second wave of COVID hit Fiji. I hope to complete my attachment, and once completed I will continue with my studies at Fiji National University for Diploma in Construction in 2022. My vision is to attain a Bachelor’s degree in Construction and work as a Builder or Project Manager for a few years before starting my own construction company. This is my dream. I believe by doing so, I am inspiring other girls to think outside the box, and see not only men leading construction companies, women can do it too if they want.
My biggest challenge, however, is meeting the financial commitment that comes with such a level of study. It’s a challenge for me because my grandmother is retired and both my parents have no secure employment and have their own families to support. So I was extremely happy when I found out that I was successful in securing a Pacific Award scholarship. Thank you to Graduate Women (Fiji) and Graduate Women New Zealand for this incredible opportunity to further my studies, and pursue my dream.