A true inspiration – Allen our local hero

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Ajay Bhai Amrit with Allen Lockington in Lautoka. Mr Lockington had a passion to assist the poor, needy and vulnerable in society on a daily basis. Picture: SAJAL NARAYAN/ SUPPLIED

Bula readers! This week we received the sad news that our local hero Allen Lockington passed away. I wrote an article in May of last year about this individual who was compassionate, caring and a true son of Fiji.

Here are some excerpts from my assessment of this hardworking social worker who had received so many accolades from a wide spectrum of society. I am adding to his praises by honouring him, as I believe his funeral is taking place on this very day in Lautoka.

This individual served the poor in his community regardless of race, religion, creed and gender. He was selfless in his work and only served one race and that was the human race.

This fine gentleman was seen out and about in Lautoka and the surrounding areas from morning to dusk with his group of friends trying to assist people as best they could.

This much-loved individual’s name as you know was Allen Lockington and he was also a well-known figure Fiji-wide.

I remember distinctly while visiting Lautoka – being fortunate enough to spend some time with him – as he went about his business of assisting the poor and less fortunate in society and trying desperately to make sure no one was left behind.

Some of the places we managed to visit in and around the Lautoka area were a reality check for me. Individuals and families are still living in severe poverty and squalor in Fiji today.

The levels of poverty I was seeing would be more akin to countries like Zimbabwe of which I have visited on a number of occasions.

The difference I saw between the poverty levels of the two counties on my visit with Allen wouldn’t be much difference at all. In Zimbabwe the actual hunger would be much worse, but as for the living conditions they could be described as being alike.

We saw families with children sleeping on a broken and dishevelled beds with only a tarpaulin to keep the wind and rain out. We saw no adequate cooking facilities and only a makeshift cooking area with an open fire.

The washroom facilities were awful and almost none existent, it was like going back in time by maybe a hundred years.

It was indeed an eye-opener for me as I have experienced seeing poverty in the Central Division on a daily basis and that was bad enough, but some of the places we visited in Lautoka that morning was sad and depressing, to say the least.

It also brought home to me the huge task ahead of all of us, which make no mistake, is a massive commitment going forward and will need a dedicated nation of people with compassion to bring these forgotten and discarded individuals and families out of poverty.

I was grateful to Allen for bringing attention to such a sad plight in Fiji and there is so much to be done to make sure we adequately assist these individuals and families who really are in abject poverty and have been like this for the last decade and more.

I left Lautoka saddened that there was so much poverty and so many individuals and families caught up in this cycle.

Thank you Allen for bringing the plight of so many who need assistance and thank you for going out every day to assist the vulnerable in our society and doing this with only love in your heart for everyone you come across.

It takes dedication and commitment to rise early every morning and go out into the field and be hands-on in serving society.

We all have the ability to do this type of service work, but only the dedicated and strong-willed are able to do this on a daily basis and continue to be the servants of the poor and underprivileged.

Individuals like Allen Lockington are few and far between and can be great examples to others in being an instrument for change and also highlighting the poverty levels in our beloved nation which need to be addressed urgently.

Finally, let’s all take time out and assess how much we as individuals and communities can help the poor and needy in our society. We might not be able to dedicate ourselves on a fulltime basis like Mr Lockington and his associates did, but every little bit helps as it builds over time.

Even the smallest amount of help would be very much appreciated by an individual or family who are desperately struggling to make ends meet.

There is a famous saying by the humanitarian and much revered social worker Mother Teresa where she is quoted as saying “not all of us can do great things. But we can all do small things with great love”.

I think this summed up Allen Lockington’s life very well, as he was doing his part with his continued dedication to assist the plight of the poor and needy in our society and maybe it’s time we all stepped up to do our part and help where we can.

I am not ashamed to say that I shed tears when I heard the news of Allen’s passing, as I know he made a difference to society that so very few can.

Vinaka Allen, you were a true inspiration to the masses and touched so many hearts of individuals and families. You really were a true son of Fiji.

• AJAY BHAI AMRIT is a founding member of The People’s Alliance party and is also a freelance writer. The views expressed in this article are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.

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