The last two years have been challenging for the global community, and it has been no different for the people of Fiji – who have faced numerous financial pressures and psychological challenges brought about by the impacts of Covid-19. 

The opening of Fiji’s international border in December 2021 was met with great excitement as the country’s hoteliers could return to normal operations, and afford to sustainably pay the country’s many hospitality workers once more.

Though the road to recovery will be a long one, the team at Club Wyndham Denarau Island is committed to supporting Fijians in need. Earlier this year, a group of 14 resort staff members formed the 
Mai Yaloda, a committee dedicated to supporting the Fijian community through philanthropic causes.

Mai Yaloda can be directly translated as “From the heart” in Fijian. Club Wyndham Denarau Island’s  
Mai Yaloda coordinates donations of money, food, school supplies, toys, clothing, good quality furniture, linens and bedding. The committee also assists Club Wyndham members and resort guests with channeling donations to deserving organisations such as orphanages, a women’s shelter, schools, villages, and families in need.

“To raise funds for causes identified by Mai Yaloda, we host different fundraising activities at the resort including the sale of Club Wyndham merchandise. All proceeds from our weekly frog racing event and our Saturday fruit and vegetable market also go to Mai Yaloda causes, along with direct donations made from club members and guests upon check-out. In addition, we have a community chest where club members and guests can place non-perishable food items that they do not use during their stay,” said Neomai Matai, Mai Yaloda Chair and Duty Manager at Club Wyndham Denarau Island.

The Mai Yaloda has completed a number of projects this year, mainly directed to assisting younger Fijians with their studies. 

“Affordability of schooling and school supplies was a major community issue that arose following the financial stresses placed on families during 2020 and 2021, explained Mrs Matai.

Initiatives completed by Club Wyndham’s Mai Yaloda this year include: 

  • Donation of quality used mattresses to Vaturu District Primary School for boarding students
  • Installment of fans in the classrooms at Vaturu District Primary School
  • Sponsorship for Nawaka District School swim team
  • Sponsorship of Nadi District girls’ rugby team
  • Donations of netball equipment to Nabila District Primary School
  • Donation of rugby balls to Andrews Primary School
  • Donation of quality pillows, bedding and linen to Navunikabi Catholic School in the highlands of Namosi
  • In partnership with Wananavu Plumbing, donation of 30 new desks and chairs for Nabila District Primary School.
  • Monthly donations of food, clothing, stationery and toys to Loloma Home
  • Seedlings donation to Loloma Home
  • Food donation to Dilkusha Girls’ Home
  • Food, clothing, shoes and bedding donations to a family who lost their home to a fire
  • Sponsorship of the Duavata Champs Awareness Marathon
  • Currently Mai Yaloda is coordinating a book and stationary drive at the resort with a target of 1,000 books

“We have an ambitious number of projects we are taking on. The Mai Yaloda team at Club Wyndham Denarau look forward to fulfilling our vision: Working together to provide positive assistance in our community by uplifting lives, caring for the elderly, identifying where genuine help is needed the most and empowering our children to make their dreams come true,” said Mrs Matai.

“In the words of Mother Teresa – ‘We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop was not there, the ocean would be missing something.’ We hope that the drop that we give brings a smile to the faces of the lives we touch.” 

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