The Seru Rabeni Memorial Kindergarten has opened its doors in the former Leicester Tigers favourite’s home village in Fiji after fundraising in his memory.
Fiji international centre Rabeni scored 18 tries in 63 games for Tigers (2004-09) but died in 2016 after a globetrotting career which also included spells in France, the USA and Hong Kong.
His dream was to provide a lasting legacy for his home village of Nasolo on the island of Vanua Levu in the Pacific, and now it has become a reality.
“Whilst rugby had presented Seru with opportunities, he knew rugby could not offer the same to all the children in his village and felt the only way forward was through education,” his partner Susan Macdonald told the South China Morning Post.
“The pre-schoolers used the village hall but classes are understandably cancelled when there are other village events. Then from Class 1 – five to six years old – the children needed to leave the village on Monday and return Friday as they have to travel to the next village.”
A dedicated kindergarten has now opened its doors in the village, with a sponsorship drive providing funding for students and a member of staff.
The kindergarten was financed by the Seru Rabeni Fund – with Tigers supporters among the rugby community across the world who have provided backing – and has gained Fijian government support too.
Susan’s post on the fund’s Facebook page says: “A huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported the Seru Rabeni Fund Kindie opening from near and afar, where the sponsor a child and teacher programme was launched. Thunderous success with all 30 children on the school roll sponsored – 4-5 years old, 18 boys and 12 girls with one teacher.”
For photos from the official opening, more information, or to make a donation, see the Seru Rabeni Fund page on Facebook.