More than a thousand women from four hundred and ninety nine women’s groups will be in Suva next week for the National Women’s Expo.

With the theme “Celebrating Fijian Women’s Talent,” the 3 day expo will be held from Wednesday 6th to Friday 8th August 2014 at Vodafone Arena in Suva and will be officially opened by the Prime Minister Rear Admiral Voreqe Bainimarama.

Each of the women’s groups have been allocated a booth and they will be selling products made from local resources like handicrafts, jewellery, skin care products, food and clothes to name a few.

The event will provide skills training for women including the newly introduced cooking appliance called rocket stove, Ende Fabric (Indonesian fabric designing), solar electrification, tailoring skills, women’s wellness centre and financial literacy trainings.

The event will also stage cultural dancing and singing through the provincial fun nights organised at this Expo.

The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni says the Ministry has invested more than $300,000 to organise this Expo which includes accommodation and transportation facilitation  for rural women participants.

“This is Fiji’s First National Women’s Expo and the women are very excited to participate in an event that has been designed to recognize their talents. We have equal representation of women from all divisions and it would be an opportunity for them to showcase their skills and to the nation. There will be potential investors and buyers who have also been arranged to come and see the displays that will open new marketing opportunities for the locally produced items made by the women.

“We are encouraging the public to visit the Vodafone Arena for the 3 days, next week and support the talents of rural women who have come all the way from their villages in the Northern, Eastern, Western and Central division to market their skills and products.

“The other interesting part of the Expo is a guest of honor who is coming all the way from United States, Mrs Bambi Nancy Shen. The well-known author of memoir, “The Uncrushable Rose: A Memoir from Concentration Camp to Becoming a Free Woman. Having overcome many challenges as a survivor of the concentration camps, Mrs Shen will share her experiences and inspire the participants at the Expo.

“We are encouraging those women who have not registered yet for the Expo to please still come forward, we welcome all women and  women groups who want to participate at the National Women’s Expo,” Minister Luveni explained.

Mrs Savita Sharma, the president of Shrest Mothers Club from Samabula, Suva said it would be the first time for 30 women in her group to showcase their home made products.

“Our members are very excited and we will be selling homemade food items and Indian sweets. This should help us to collect extra cash on each of these days and we also look forward to learning about the rocket stove and the financial literacy training and the fashion show as well,” she said.

Similarly, Mrs Asenaca Morocinakelo, president of the Buretu Women’s Group, Tailevu said that they will be selling products produced at their women’s resource centre.

“Through the Ministry’s assistance, we had opened the Buretu Women’s Resource Centre in 2012, which the enabled us to earn an income by selling items made from coconut. In fact the Ministry has also provided us with training on making handicrafts and jewellery using coconuts and bamboos.

“Usually we sell these items in nearby villages and in Nausori market, that gives us an income on a weekly basis. We are happy that through the Expo we will be able to sell items like Virgin Coconut Oil, coconut jam, pawpaw pickle, handicraft and artefacts made from local products.  Last year during the Rural Women’s Day held in Nadi, our group was able to rake in more than $1000 cash by selling these products, so given this year, we have a much bigger venue and audience and we hope to return home with more cash, network with other groups and share new skills ” Mrs  Morocinakelo said.


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