Hervey Bay crucial to decreasing health crisis
HERVEY Bay man Rosan Lal saw a national health crisis in Fiji and decided to do something about it.
Every year, more than 4000 people in Fiji die prematurely due to Diabetes related commodities, hypertension, and heart diseases.
As executive director of Action for Children and the Aged Australia (ACATA), Mr Lal started the registered charity and non-profit organisation in health literacy and behaviour change programs in Fiji.
The local father is of Fijian heritage and used to live in Fiji before moving to Australia.
"My NGO promotes health and wellness in Fijian villages and schools,” Mr Lal said.
"Fiji is ranked number one for diabetes in the world, almost one third of the population live with it.
"Only 15 per cent of the population live beyond the age of 55 and we educate them in behaviour change to change that statistic.”
Mr Lal came to Hervey Bay a year ago from Adelaide and works as a trainer in community services and online counselling with Open Colleges.
Incorporating his job into his passion, Open Colleges partnered with ACATA Australia to offer students of the Diploma of Community Services the opportunity to complete their required work placement hours over the course of two weeks in Fiji.
Mr Lal sponsored 10 Fijian students from the Mandir Sangam school to spend 10 days in Hervey Bay last fortnight.
"The students are from a secondary school we work closely with,” he said
"The cultural exchange program is for them to learn and open their minds to what the world is all about.
Whilst in Harvey Bay, Mr Lal said the students took in various sporting activities and eating out at local restaurants.
Students also learned about Australian healthy living by visiting an animal sanctuary park, local farms, a shopping centre and a day care centre.
"In the last two days they spent in Brisbane before they flew home, we had a reflection,” Mr Lal said.
"The students said Brisbane was so busy and they described Hervey Bay as 'heavenly'.
"They said Hervey Bay had everything you could need without the rat race of a large city, it is beautiful but also gives you space to breathe.
"They had an amazing trip and what they learned they will go back and teach their families.
"The standard of living in Fiji is not high but they are happy in a different way.”
The NGO runs around five of these trips a year, hosted at Mr Lal's Dundowran home.