Special Christmas for Fijian British Army soldier as he reunites with children after 4 years

Special Christmas for Fijian British Army soldier as he reunites with children after 4 years

By Rashika Kumar
Wednesday 06/12/2023

Christmas has come early for British Army soldier Lance Corporal Kelevi Dainiteri after reuniting with his three children after four years.

The reunion was made possible when the Soldiers', Sailors' & Airmen's Families Association Inverness-Shire and Western Isles, and in particular volunteer Anna Masson, became involved and in partnership with Poppyscotland and the Army Families Federation, facilitated the funding for immigration and visa costs, and flights to bring Dainiteri’s children from Fiji to Scotland according to the British Armed Forces Charity.

They say Dainiteri was based at Fort George, Inverness, with the Royal Regiment of Scotland before joing the British Army in March this year.

They add his wife joined him a year ago, however their children could not come with them.

The Charity says the couple had been saving as much as they could to try and get their three children – Oni, Joshua, and Cema – permission and visas to join them in the UK so that they can be a family again.

The Charity says the children have been staying with their grandparents, who are not in the best of health, in Fiji.

Dainiteri says there is currently no assistance rendered to Commonwealth persons in the UK Armed Forces to enable their immediate family to come to the UK to join them, so he had to find a way to finance this himself.

He took out a loan to pay for his wife’s flights and visa where she had to live and work for a year ahead of the couple’s children being allowed to go to the UK, putting a strain on the family’s finances. They say Soldiers', Sailors' & Airmen's Families Association Inverness-Shire and Western Isles, volunteer Anna Masson, Poppyscotland and the Army Families Federation stepped in to help the family.

The Charity says while Dainiteri’s wife had not seen her children for a year, Dainiteri had not seen them for nearly four years before flying to Fiji to collect them and bring them to their mother and their new home.

Dainiteri says it was just like a movie and the dream has come true.

His wife, Bale says it is really hard being away from them, but she is so happy that they have reunited.

While acknowledging the SSAFA, Bale adds that she was especially worried about her children going to school and them not being there for them, and missing all their bringing up.

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