MY OWN CHIL­DREN

HAVE ABAN­DONED ME, SAYS WATI, 78

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - Edited by Ru­si­ate Mataika Feed­back: sha­hani.mala@fi­jisun.com.fj

Seventy-eight-year-old Shukla Wati keeps look­ing out­side long­ingly, wish­ing one of her eight chil­dren would come to visit her one day. It has be­come a daily rou­tine since she moved into Sam­ab­ula Se­nior Cit­i­zens Home last Mon­day, fol­low­ing help from the Po­lice and the So­cial Wel­fare De­part­ment. Her story got ev­ery­one talk­ing yes­ter­day dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tions of the In­ter­na­tional for Old Per­sons at the home. Be­fore the Sam­ab­ula home, she stayed at a rel­a­tive’s home. There, she spoke to a daugh­ter by phone and asked for help. “I told my daugh­ter I don’t have a place to stay and I don’t know what to do. She just hung up on me,” Ms Wati said. “I know my eight chil­dren have their own fam­i­lies and they have told me they can­not look af­ter me. “I never dreamed that one day my own kids will turn their back on me.” Emo­tional Ms Wati said: “My chil­dren do not even know that I am now re­sid­ing at the Sam­ab­ula Se­nior Cit­i­zens Home.

“I want to be with my chil­dren. I miss them so much.

“At least one should have taken re­spon­si­bil­ity of me. None of my chil­dren want me.

“We were very poor but I worked in the sug­ar­cane farms to sup­port and ful­fill their needs.”

Ms Wati was born, raised and mar­ried in Val­ley Road in Si­ga­toka. Her chil­dren were also born and raised there. Now she can­not hear and see prop­erly.

Her hus­band died about 20 years ago and due to some land is­sues her fam­ily had to move to Suva. “Be­ing a mother I did so much to ful­fill all my chil­dren’s needs and in re­turn this is what I get.

“They do not even care for me,” she said.

Ms Wati said she even begged for money from her neigh­bours to sup­port her chil­dren.

“We were so poor that we could not af­ford to send our chil­dren to school.

“My hus­band told me not to send chil­dren to school but I begged in front of the teacher to give uni­forms to my chil­dren and pro­vide them with ed­u­ca­tion,” she said. In tears Ms Wati said all her hard work, love and sup­port­ing her chil­dren was a waste. “My chil­dren are say­ing to me that they now have their own fam­ily to sup­port. There­fore, they can­not look af­ter me,” she said. “I last spoke to one of my daugh­ters and told her that I have no place to stay and my daugh­ter hanged up the phone.” Ms Wati said for past few years she had been re­sid­ing at her rel­a­tives place here and there but re­cently, they took her to Cen­tral Po­lice Sta­tion.

“The Po­lice of­fi­cer took me to the Saint Vin­cent de Paul Home at Brown Street in Suva but I was re­fused.

“I was then taken to Toorak Po­lice Sta­tion and the Po­lice Of­fi­cers there spoke with the So­cial Wel­fare De­part­ment and fi­nally I got a shel­ter at the Sam­ab­ula Se­nior Cit­i­zens Home,” she said. Her mes­sage to the chil­dren yes­ter­day: “I begged to sup­port you and you do not care for me. “Your fa­ther did not care much about you but I did. “You all are now well ed­u­cated and have good jobs but you do not care about your mother.

“You have for­got­ten all my sac­ri­fices to­wards you.”

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

Shukla Wati, 78, a res­i­dent of Sam­ab­ula Se­nior Cit­i­zens’ Home dur­ing the In­ter­na­tional Day for Older Per­sons in Sam­ab­ula yes­ter­day.

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