WEST PREPARES FOR THE NATIONAL WOMEN?S EXPO

Preparations are in progress for the women artisans in the western division to showcase their talents at the upcoming National Women?s Expo 2015.

The event which will be held at the Vodafone Arena in Suva from the 14th to 16th of October this year is being organised by the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation in partnership with local sponsors.

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Hon. Rosy Akbar says that the Expo will provide an opportunity for 600 women artisans to showcase their skills and talent at the Expo.

Minister Akbar made these comments while speaking at the official ground breaking ceremony for the new Women?s Development Centre in Ba yesterday.

?The Ministry in partnership with the Fiji Arts Council, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Industry has selected these women artisans. Apart from 600 who had been selected by the divisional craft shows we have given 50 more women vendors and artisans the opportunity to participate in the National Women?s Expo 2015.

?This year?s theme, ?Connecting Women to Markets: Make it Happen,? has motivated them to focus on the quality of their products to get a better value of their hard work. We expect to see a wide range of products, we are inviting the public to come forward and support the Expo. The Ministry in partnership with Westpac Fiji has also organised financial literacy trainings for all the women artisans, likewise there will be various other capacity building workshops available for enhanced learning at the Expo,? Minister Akbar said.

The members of the Ba Women?s Forum will also be represented at this year?s National Women?s Expo.

Dr Maria Doton, president of Ba Women?s Forum says that women are busy preparing for their products which will be sold at the Expo.

?There are 18 different ranges of products; this includes handicrafts, contemporary art, ladies fashion wears, home-made food items and many more. This week, the Ministry had also organised a quality control workshop for women who have been selected to participate in the Expo. We have encouraged our women to strive for the quality, creativity and packaging of the products that will be sold at the Expo.

?We find that Expo is a great avenue that enables women, particularly the rural women to market their skills. The Ba Women?s Forum is grateful to the Fijian Government for initiating this new platform for our women. We also thank the Ministry of Women for making the necessary arrangements for those women who will be coming from rural areas to Suva to take part in the Expo. It is a great incentive for our women that their economic potential is being recognized by the Government,? Mrs Doton said. ?

The president of Ba Sanatan Nari Sabha, Mrs Raj Tilak Chand describes the women?s Expo as a gateway to network with other women and share new skills.

?Our group was selected to participate in this year?s Expo, through the divisional craft show which was held in July this year. Last year, our group earned over $800 at the Expo by selling our products. We have 25 members who have been busy preparing products like handicrafts, ladies handbags, home decorations and Indian sweets. We look forward to sell these items at the Expo and return home with money that will be spent on the education needs for our children,? Mrs Chand explained.

DEPTFO