Fijian Women Not Left Behind

27th July 2018

Basket Weaving

The Fijian government have reaffirmed their commitment to Fiji’s development this month with a women’s training program designed to support the country’s mission to not leave any Fijian behind.

Last week Mereseini Vuniwaq, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, spoke to 32 graduates from the villages of Solevu, Yanuya, Tiliva and Yaro. The women had completed a five day intensive, training them in floral arrangement, fabric art and use of a sewing machine.

Ms Vuniwaqa reflected on the success of prior programs, as evidenced by the work exhibited at the recent Fiji Rural Fashion Designer Awards during the National Women’s Expo.

At the ceremony, Ms Vuniwaqa also donated two sewing machines to each group from Solevu and Yaro, sharing her belief that they would provide a sense of empowerment and independent income to the community.

“These sewing machines will provide a gateway to providing employment opportunities and income generation for the two women’s groups by helping them to diversify their products for sale to tourists, who visit their villages,” the Minister for Women said.

The program has drawn interest from Fiji’s fashion industry and Ms Vuniwaqa said that the sewing machine program had elevated the interest of rural women to partake in the industry.

“The empowerment through access to education and Government services, through domestic violence laws, through equal opportunities for employment in Government, services and benefits are available across Government,” said Ms Vuniwaqa.

A graduate of the program, Mereula Sito Nawaqa, who had retired from work and lived in the village for two years, expressed her appreciation for the program.

“This training is an eye opener because we have learnt to use the raw materials around us to do screen printing, tie-dye and floral arrangement, which can all be a source of income to the women’s group,” she said.