PACIFIC FESTIVAL A BREAK FOR KIRIBATI VOLUNTEER

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Tabaru finds opportunities, ideas at the Fiji gathering

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, July 15, 2009) – A Kiribati youth volunteer says the Pacific Festival is a chance where Pacific islanders can share ideas and take new ideas back home with them.

Akato Tabaru, 25, an unemployed youth from the Kiribati was among the 300-plus youths attending the Pacific Youth Festival at the University of the South Pacific.

When the FijiSUN visited USP yesterday Mr. Tabaru was busy compiling his workshop notes and jotting down little information on the board when all the other participants were busy serving themselves with their lunches.

"I am lucky to be chosen to be one of Kiribati’s representatives at the festival," said Mr. Tabaru.

"We had wide range of topics ranging from mental illness to HIV/AIDS, politics and religion and the different ways of overcoming problems facing Pacific youths.

"The exchange of ideas between participants and studying about the different countries in the Pacific and their way of life was just great."

Mr Tabaru said he was trying his best to note down whatever little information he learnt so that when he returned he would have something for the youths back home.

"I am proud to spread these messages to the young ones back home when I go back," said Mr Tabaru.

"Youths of the Pacific are facing major kinds of problems nowadays and we need to deal with each of these problems in our different communities."

Mr Tabaru said he appreciated the hospitality and friendliness of Fijians since the first day they arrived.

"We had a great time exchanging ideas and we laughed, cried and shared jokes together. This is the Pacific way of life," said Mr. Tabaru.

Mr. Tabaru hopes that other youths from the region will go and spread the messages they have learnt at the festival to their friends and families back home.

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