Skip to main content Skip to home page
After representing Fiji in table tennis, Harvi Yee now works as the in-country manager for Smash Down Barriers Fiji and is helping to transform lives through the sport / Smash Down Barriers Fiji

Championing inclusion through Table Tennis in Fiji

Meet Harvi Yee, the in-country manager for the Smash Down Barriers program in Fiji. Since the inception of the program in Fiji in 2014, Harvi began her career as a development officer and was later promoted to in-country manager for her dedicated work. Prior to joining the program, Harvi worked tirelessly to progress the sport of table tennis, particularly in mentoring girls, women, and people with disability, many of whom have gone on to represent the country.

A former national women's table tennis player and coach, Harvi leverages her experience to significantly contribute to the successful delivery of the Smash Down Barriers program. She leads a team that actively engages in community and school visits, using table tennis to promote inclusion and gender equality.

The Smash Down Barriers program is designed to be adaptable, ensuring the sport can be played anywhere, anytime, and by people of all abilities.

"Table tennis is a big part of my family. Having represented Fiji myself, and now seeing my daughters compete internationally, it was natural for me to use my love for the sport to help others succeed and find a sense of community," Harvi shared.

"We focus on changing perceptions about people with disabilities. Some of our staff members have disabilities themselves, and their involvement helps shift perspectives. They are passionate about the sport and have represented Fiji as para-athletes. They are our role models," Harvi added.

Beyond impacting communities, Harvi highlighted how the initiative is developing better coaches and people. "Being involved in the program also affects how our coaches interact with others. It teaches them patience and helps form friendships within communities."

"Whenever we deliver programs, people are often surprised at how easily the game can be played with minor adjustments. Even tables, balls, and nets can be constructed from everyday household items. That's the idea of the sport—that everyone can enjoy it," Harvi explained.

Reflecting on the role of the program on her personal growth, she said, "I don’t think I would have had the courage to take up this role without the program. It has given me the confidence to grow in my career, and I'm thankful for all the training we've received through Team Up."

Most recently, Harvi won the Most Outstanding Video award category at the 2024 Team Up Folktale Oscars. She credited this success to her team and the training, and workshops provided by Team Up. "I want to thank Team Up for teaching us skills that help promote our work and inspire more people. These skills go beyond our everyday work, and our team has worked hard to improve in them, so we’re grateful for the recognition. It’s a team effort, and I have a wonderful team behind me."

Harvi also won the prize for Best Gender Story at the Team Up Folktale Oscars, a remarkable achievement given that she had only recently learned how to use Folktale after taking up the role of in-country manager.

Supported by the Australian Government’s Team Up, the Smash Down Barriers program in Fiji is delivered in partnership between International Table Tennis Federation-Oceania and Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC).

Harvi Yee leads an all-male staff dedicated to delivering the Smash Down Barriers program, that aim to change perspectives on people with disability. / Smash Down Barriers Fiji
The Smash Down Barriers program in Fiji, led by Harvi Yee, won two of twelve categories at the 2024 Team Up Folktale Oscars. She is pictured with other Fijian nominees and winners. / Team Up
Back to top Back to top