Elizabeth Alovetta Turaga couldn’t contain her tears as she walked to the podium to receive her certificate in Hotel Management during the University of the South Pacific’s Laucala Campus Graduation in Suva on Thursday.
The 43-year-old, who is a mother of six, said while receiving her certificate, she felt a sense of relief as she will now productively help her family to become financially stable.
“I feel happy that I achieved my first success although it’s a minor step,” an emotional Turaga said.
“We are a family of eight and my husband is a security guard while I have been working part-time at USP Discipline of Tourism and Hospitality Management.”
“It wasn’t easy for my husband to support us all these years but now that I have graduated, I will be able to assist him in running our household.”
Turaga began her education two years ago after receiving a scholarship from the USP and revealed some of the challenges she encountered in her journey but was determined to overcome them all.
“I was working at USP and we heard about this scholarship. When COVID came, we had to step back but when things settled, I managed to get a scholarship for which I’m very much grateful. If it wasn’t USP then I might not have been here today.”
“Being a mother, a wife, a part-time worker and a student was very difficult. I had to sacrifice some of my sleep time just so that my children are in school on time and that I have prepared the daily family meal so that no one has to sleep hungry.”
“Sometimes I had to sit till late at night to go over the notes and also do internet research to gain extra knowledge on hotel management and how the works are carried out. It’s all a matter of how to manage time wisely and when I learned that, everything fell in place.”
Turaga added that she is willing to continue her education and graduate with a diploma with the aim to become a hotel manager in years to come.
“My husband played a huge role in my success today because he motivated me to study. He always told me that age is just a number and if I put my mind to achieving something, I’ll be successful.”
“Even today he told me that this is not the end for me. He encouraged me to resume my studies next year because he wants me to fulfill my dream now since I got married early and gave birth in my early 20s for which I couldn’t study.”
“My message to all the men out there is to allow your wife, sisters and daughters to study because the support for us women should come from our family first. If you support them, they will make a name for themselves and make your family proud.”