Happy Home Trust provides a safe-home to protect, educate and empower children in Fiji who are subject to violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect.
The Happy Home is not an orphanage; it’s a safe place. It’s a safe place for children to take refuge. There is no routine and never a predictable day, this is because children in need of a safe place from violence, from rape, from abuse, from street living, or just from the hopelessness of life, do not schedule their crises or times of need, they simply ‘drop in’ for an hour, or a day, or sometimes for the duration of their pregnancy or even their schooling.
At the heart of the Happy Home is Elizabeth Clayton. It all started for her in 2002 and is a full-time, lifelong commitment. An unassuming and highly successful former business-woman who made an immediate transition from business to caring for children in need, the day she saw Sujit tethered to nursing home bed and standing in his own excrement, with deep-set wounds from years of being bound. Since then Sujit has been given a lifetime of love and rehabilitation and is no longer besmirched as Fiji’s “chicken-boy” but is now Sujit Kumar with the handsome and happy smile.
Through the Happy Home, Elizabeth provides a 24-hour safe haven for more than 150 children – of which 60 have been intensely cared for and temporarily housed, including severely disabled Sujit Kumar who has resided with her from more than 12 years.
Elizabeth keeps opening her doors to children in need, children at-risk. These children constantly steal from her, cheat on her, lie to her but also they hug her, they rely on her, and they love her. She is their rock, the one they can rely on. She nurtures children’s wellbeing, and educates and empowers them in the hope they will “break the cycle” of violence, abuse and poverty – and maybe become advocates in their own homes and communities.
Elizabeth is also well known for advocating for children’s rights across government, police and community services. She is a passionate and smart advocate for children’s rights, and she dedicates much of her time collaborating with, or lobbying for commitment from, government’s social and children’s departments as well as other agencies and community services, to help keep Fiji’s children safe and protected.
Elizabeth gives children a “voice”, and the support to have their voice heard and acted upon.
“Although one hopes for a world where the work Elizabeth does is no longer needed, she has become an integral part of many children and their dysfunctional families’ lives in Fiji. By showing many children a different way of life and providing tools to help fight the vicious cycle of poverty in Fiji, she has been a catalyst for such positive change.
Hopefully her involvement with Fiji’s younger generation will help change some futures for the better. Although some days it may seem like she is fighting a losing battle, she continues, and is an inspiration for Grace and I. It was an honour working alongside her and contributing to this positive change”
Ella Fisk/Grace Nihotte (Volunteers 2014)
With your help and support, we can improve the lives of thousands of children and their families. Donations are important, particularly for the large items, but there are many ways for you to help.
Establishing the first Happy Home in 2006 was undertaken with a lot of love from a lot of people – over 200 in fact – from all over the world to undertake an Extreme Make-Over of a very run down but beautiful old government ‘plantation’ home located on Richards Road, Domain, in order to make it into a wonderful, safe and secure family home for Sujit Kumar and other children at-risk.