Transforming Healthcare: The Inspiring Philanthropic Journey

Lois Tanumi, a philanthropist and advocate for a better Fiji, has made remarkable contributions to Fiji’s healthcare system despite numerous challenges. In a recent interview, she shared her inspiring journey, from building bridges to providing essential medical supplies, and emphasized the urgent need for improved healthcare infrastructure in her homeland.

Philanthropic Journey Began with a Bold Move

Lois Tanumi’s philanthropic journey began in 1995 when she purchased $AU25,000 ($F38,044) worth of medication from Australia and personally delivered it to the Colonial War Memorial (CWM) Hospital in Suva and health centres on Kadavu. This significant gesture marked the start of her long-term commitment to improving healthcare in Fiji. “In July 1995, I brought medicine to Fiji. The Fiji Times has it in their archives,” she said.

Building Bridges and Initial Challenges

Her commitment extended beyond healthcare. Ms. Tanumi had a dream to build a bridge in her village of Soso on Kadavu, but despite her earnest efforts, she received no support from the Government. “I sought approval to build that bridge, but received no response whatsoever,” she said. Undeterred, she returned to Australia and began fundraising. Her employer and his family contributed $AU25,000 ($F38,044) to her cause. However, the project, which ultimately cost $80,000, faced significant obstacles because of the lack of governmental support in Fiji.

Healthcare Struggles in Fiji

In 2017, Ms. Tanumi’s philanthropic focus shifted sharply back to healthcare after a personal tragedy. Her sister, who was battling cancer, suffered greatly due to the deplorable conditions at CWM Hospital in Suva. “The state of the hospital was disgraceful,” she said. “There were no wheelchairs, and my sister had to wait from 10 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon for a scan.” Sadly, her sister passed away shortly after, as did another sister who was diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage and also lacked timely medical care.

Charitable Work and Wheelchair Donations

Moved by these experiences, Ms. Tanumi made it her mission to improve conditions at CWM Hospital. She raised funds in Australia and, despite logistical challenges, managed to provide 12 wheelchairs to the hospital. “I bought nine wheelchairs from the $AU2500 ($F3803) my friend Jackie, who lives in Los Angeles, donated from her Australian account,” Ms. Tanumi said. She faced difficulties in shipping the wheelchairs due to high costs but found alternative ways to ensure their delivery. In addition to CWM, Tanumi extended her support to rural hospitals. “I’ve shipped wheelchairs to the hospital in Kadavu, and I’ve bought medical supplies like thermometers and blood pressure machines from my own pocket,” she said.

Founding the Southern Princess Foundation

Building on her early efforts, Ms. Tanumi established the Southern Princess Foundation. This foundation has been pivotal in her continuous support for Fijian healthcare. Through the foundation, she has been able to systematically raise and distribute essential medical supplies to various hospitals across Fiji.

Popular Categories

Latest News

Search the website