The Bhindi family, owners of the Southern California-based Bhindi Jewellers, has decided to contribute $12 million in the squatter resettlement program to change the lives of 300 squatter families in Fiji.
Poor sanitation and unhygienic living conditions are the main problems that plague the current squatter settlements and the project will entail subdividing 25 acres of land in Makoi into 300 individual lots that will have all necessary infrastructures for resettlement and development.
Vinod K. Bhindi, CEO of Bhindi Jewellers, mentioned that they are the first family to do something like this and that this is something his father would have wanted to do, thus they are contributing to this project in honor of him.
Vinod is the oldest son of Karsanji Bhindi, a fifth-generation goldsmith who emigrated from India to the Fiji Islands with the hope of sharing his craft.
He opened his first store in the Fijian city of Suva and after his three sons joined the family business in 1975, they became masters of the gold jewelry trade and brought it to Artesia, California, with their roots still in Fiji.
The estate in Makoi will be named after Karsanji Bhindi while the formal announcement of the relocation of these squatter families was made on October 24 by Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the Fiji Attorney General and Minister for Economy.
The new development will provide the squatters a home that will give them access to water, electricity and garbage pickup services, as well as sealed roads and sewage systems.
The project will be completed in about six months and the squatters will be able to move in within a year.