The launch of EDAN in the Pacific Region was held together with the first ever Pacific Consultation on Disability and the Church at the Pacific Theological College (PTC) in Suva, Fiji from 3rd to 5th December 2006. The event was organized by the WCC Office in the Pacific, South Pacific Association of Theological Schools (SPATS) and the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP) with financial assistance of WCC through EDAN and ETE. It was attended by 25 participants from six Pacific Island Countries representing Churches, Theological Institutions and Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs). The major outcome of this event was the development of the SPATS Curriculum on Disability used by Theological Institutions in the Pacific. Since the launch of EDAN Pacific in 2006, Mr. Setareki Macanawai has been the Region’s Coordinator.
Mr. Setareki is a christian of indigenous Fijian descent. He was born in 1964 and is married to Ana with four children and two grandchildren. He became blind when he was 17 years old during his final year at high school. He then went on to complete Primary Teacher Education and was posted to the Fiji School for the Blind where he taught for almost 20 years. He left the school after serving for two years as a Principal. He studied at Universities in New Zealand, United States and Australia. He has a Masters Degree in Educational Administration. He served in numerous disability organizations in Fiji and abroad as well as presented papers in conferences overseas and wrote a few journal articles, thesis and disability education curriculum. His concern to address the spiritual development needs of persons with disabilities led him to start a fellowship group for persons with disabilities in 1989, conduct disability awareness raising programmes in mainline christian Churches in different parts of the country and now pastoring at the Horeb Disability Christian Fellowship in Suva, Fiji.
Mr. Setareki currently works as the CEO of the Pacific Disability Forum, a position he has held since January, 2007 serving about 30 Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) in 18 Pacific Island Countries and Territories. In this positon, he represents the Pacific Region in the International Disability Alliance(IDA), Global Partnership on Disability and Development(GPDD) and Asia/Pacific Disability Forum(APDF). He also serves on the Disability Reference Group of the Australian Agency for International Development(AusAID). Prior to this role, he served as the Executive Director for the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons and Principal of the Fiji School for the Blind.
To him, the main concerns facing people with disabilities within and outside the church in the Pacific Region include social exclusion, negative attitudes, absence of appropriate governmental policies and legal framework, inaccessible buildings and transport systems, low parental/societal expectations and stereotypes.
To further ecumenical disability work in the Pacific, Setareki feels that first, a recognition and commitment on the part of Disabled Peoples Organizations on the important place of spiritual needs and development of persons with disabilities is neccesary. Second, the supportive role of christian denominations and theological schools towards fostering a disability inclusive church environment is essential. third, exchange of information and learning of good practice as well as success stories from other regions of EDAN need to be nurtured.
EDAN Pacific carries out the following programs/activities:
Mr. Setareki S. Macanawai
24 Dex Voeux Road
GPO Box 18458
Tel: + 679 3312008, +679 3307530
M/Vodafone: + 679 -9921486
M/Digicel: + 679-7082891
Fax : + 679 3310469
Suva, Fiji Islands