The women from the interior of Ra province are geared up for the National Women’s Expo which will be held at the Vodafone Arena in Suva next week from Wednesday 14th to Friday 16th October. The three day program has been organised relative to the theme, “Connecting Women to Markets: Make it Happen.”
Of the 600 women artisans who have been sponsored to participate at this year’s Expo, 130 of these women are coming from Ra, Ba, Tavua, Nadi, Sigatoka, Lautoka and as far as Rotuma and Yasawa.
The women from the Ra province have prepared to showcase their authentic Fijian handicrafts at the Expo. Participating at the Expo for the very first time will be the president of Nativi Women’s Group in Ra, Mrs Uliana Nabole.
“I was selected through the divisional craft show organised in Lautoka this year. I had earned over $300 in just a day by selling handicraft made from Kuta and voivoi, there is a good demand for these traditional products. This would be the first time for me to participate in the Expo and I hope to make the most of the opportunity given.
“We also have a women’s resource centre in our village that was built through the funds generated from handicrafts to earn income for their families. It is encouraging to find that the Government is reaching out to rural women through a national event such as an Expo. It is a great incentive for rural women to use their traditional art and skills for the development of their families,” Mrs Nabole said.
Similarly, Mrs Sereima Tupou from Matawailevu village in Ra says that the Expo is a great platform for women to share new skills and knowledge.
“I have been to the Expo last year and witnessed the wide range of products that women have sold. Indeed rural women are talented and it’s through events such as the Expo that gives them the exposure and confidence to enhance their talents.
“It is the most awaited event for the year for us women and apart from showcasing our products we also get to access new ideas and information that helps us to make informed decisions.
“We thank the Bainimarama government for sponsoring us to come this far and creating this new marketing opportunity and recognizing rural women,” Mrs Tupou added.
Meanwhile, a total of 156 women artisans will represent the central division, 120 from northern division and 194 from eastern divisions. These women will also be provided with the opportunity to participate in capacity building and empowerment workshops which has been organised by the Ministry in partnership with Westpac and UNDP.
The 600 women artisans for the Expo have been selected through the divisional craft shows that was successfully organised throughout the 4 divisions by the Ministry of Women in partnership with the Fiji Arts Council, Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Health. Nearly 2000 women from 503 women groups had participated in the divisional craft shows held in July this year.