Asinate’s devotion – Single mum won’t let others dictate her choices

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Asinate Lagilagi with her son. Picture: SUPPLIED

Hers has been a life devoted to volunteering. Originally from Namacu, Koro in Lomaiviti with maternal links to Dawara in Cakaudrove, 25-year-old Asinate Lagilagi is a single mum to a “prince”.

Her journey strongly relates a story of personal challenges, dedication and perseverance. Asinate attended Vatukoula Primary School from years One to Eight. She did Year Nine at Tavua College before attending Sigatoka Methodist College from years 10 to 13.

“In 2015, I was a Year 12 student when I fell pregnant,” she said.

“I didn’t get that much support from my parents, so I had moved to Vatukoula at that time to stay with my aunt who supported me throughout.

“While I was pregnant and after having my child I knew in my heart that I wanted to complete my Year 13.”

And Asinate did just that, after taking a break for a whole year in 2016 to look after her son. She went back to Sigatoka to complete her Year 13 studies.

“With one pregnancy it doesn’t mean that your life is over, it doesn’t mean that you have to put your life on hold,” she said.

“And so I pushed myself to be the best person I could be, not just for myself but for my son as well who is seven years old now.”

After completing her Year 13, she attended the University of the South Pacific in 2018 and studied for a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism but couldn’t complete her studies due to personal reasons.

The young mother is also a learn-to-swim coach with the Suva-based Babale Swim Club.

She ventured into swimming in 2019 after she returned to Suva from Kadavu where she interned for the French Production, with a mix of German and Swedish, of Survivors.

“Through Uto ni Yalo, I saw flyers by Fiji Swimming saying they needed swimming coaches, so I thought I’d try it out. I attended a free workshop, did a 20-hour practical and joined Babale Swim Club in 2020 and I am still with them teaching at the Olympic Pool and in schools.

“My mum and aunt have been telling me to get another job, but my heart and soul is in teaching children how to swim, so I think I will stick to swimming for a few more years.”

Asinate was also the president of Nasinu Young Alliance during the 2022 General Election.

“In 2022, before the elections, I began taking an interest in politics even though I never studied politics. I was into change movement and even today I still am. It was something big and great and an experience I will never forget.”

Apart from volunteering at major events, she enjoys spending her free time with her family selling produce at the Suva market.

“Most of my family members from my paternal side are market vendors.”

“It first started with my grandfather then it came down to my dad but sadly he passed away when I was six years old. Vending came down to my aunts who are currently full-time market vendors, and my cousins as well.”

Her message and advice to young single mothers was “nobody should define how you should live your life. It’s all on you, whether you want to move forward or backward. Whatever opportunities that come, make sure to grab it”.

Asinate was among the many youths who had volunteered during the Fiji Fringe Festival.