The Chairman of the SSIO, Dr. Narendranath Reddy, and other senior SSIO leaders visited Fiji, 21st–24th September 2017. They visited the local settlement of Saru and interacted with Fijian residents in that developing community. Dr. Reddy expressed his admiration for the virtues of the small community, with its simplicity of life, cohesiveness, and beauty of surroundings. At a well-attended meeting in Latuko, Dr. Reddy narrated several anecdotes bringing forth Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings on universal love. On 22nd September 2017, the visitors and local leaders participated in a meeting at the University of Fiji, to discuss the applicability of human values in daily life.
The group also visited the Sathya Sai School and the Sathya Sai Institute of Human Values Education at Drasa, where more than 100 students receive formal education based on the principles of human values. Established in 2000, the primary school represents a significant breakthrough towards integration of the two major ethnic communities in Fiji, the iTaukei and the Indo-Fijians. A group of iTaukei students from the school and two members of the nearby Matawalu village visited Puttaparthi in 2011 and were received by Bhagawan Himself. While at Drasa, the visitors laid the foundation for a school library and inaugurated a new building for the Sathya Sai Institute of Human Values Education, which was established in 2006. The Institute conducts research, publishes books, and trains teachers to provide human values–based education in Fiji’s schools. The visitors were impressed by the variety and quality of literature produced by the Institute.
The senior SSIO leaders also visited the Viseisei Sai Health Centre. In 2010, Sathya Sai Baba Himself blessed the plans for the Health Centre, which opened its doors in April 2011. The Centre works in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and provides more than 15,000 medical consultations annually for the benefit of local, indigent Fijians.
Two local government Ministers joined the SSIO leaders at the Fijian Sai convention of 2017, themed “Building a Harmonious and Compassionate Society.” Inspiring addresses were given on the role of the SSIO in Fiji for community development through selfless service. During a presentation of cultural programmes in the evening, a local Sai Band presented an outstanding musical performance, showing potential for promoting the arts, increasing youth participation, and integrating communities through music. An interfaith service on Sunday morning comprised another notable event at the convention, with significant participation by the iTaukei, underscoring the Sathya Sai message of oneness of all faiths.