Of the 608 women who participated in the two days central division craft show held in Suva this week, a total of 248 women have been selected to participate in the National Women’s Expo this year. These women will be fully sponsored by the Ministry of Women to showcase their talents at the Expo in October.
The craft held at the Suva Foreshore Carpark from Wednesday 22nd to Thursday 23rd July was organised by the Ministry of Women in partnership with Fiji Arts Council, Ministry of Health and Westpac. Craft shows are staged as built up events to the National Women’s Expo 2015 that will be held from the 14th to 16th October in Suva.
The central division craft show was officially closed on Thursday evening by the Permanent Secretary for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Josefa Koroivueta.
Dr Koroivueta said these crafts shows have instilled a competitive environment to generate excellence in the quality and marketability of the products.
“When we had the first National Women’s Expo in 2014, it provided a learning stage for 2000 women who participated in the event. But this year, we are on a different game, which is to inculcate competition for excellence to meet the market demand. There are many marketing opportunities out there but we have to rise to those challenges. I thank all our sponsors and partners who have stood by us to see the success of this craft show.
“Women artisans are able to come forward and showcase their talents in terms of design, innovation and creativeness. Fijian women can no longer wait to be economically empowered, to find the niche market and we are making it happen for them. The theme this year’s Expo is, “connecting women to the market, making it happen,” whether it is a domestic market or overseas market, it’s crucial that there is continuity, and sustainable livelihood gains to you and your family,” Dr Koroivueta said.
The Ministry had so far registered 1854 women’s groups through divisional craft shows, the one organised in Suva has been the ninth show. A total of 409 women have also been identified from the western, northern and eastern divisions to participate in the National Women’s Expo 2015.
“This forum provides an avenue for empowerment of our women, to increase your morale, build your confidence, enabling you to become financially independent. Through these events we have motivated you towards the pathway of excellence and perseverance to produce quality and unique products. Identify the resources, which has been given to you and use your talents and skills to give it a brand,” Dr Koroivueta said.
Uthra Mati from the Gyan Women’s Club in Navua has thanked the Ministry for providing them with this marketing opportunity.
“We have earned more than $400 just by selling the home made products and Indian sweets. We are grateful that the Ministry has organised this craft show, it also enabled us to network and share ideas with other women groups,” Mrs Mati said.
Speaking on behalf of women from Serua province, their representative, Mrs Veniana Anthony describes the craft show as a great platform to promote the talents of rural women.
“We are so excited for the National Women’s Expo. The women from Serua province have been selected for the National Women’s Expo in October and we will be selling products like handicrafts, soyer sauce, jams, seaweed products, pickles and food.
Through the Suva craft show, the women from Serua province has been able to earn more than $3000 in just two days. This has been a great experience for the Serua women and we thank this government for prioritising and promoting the economic empowerment of rural women. Through the government’s assistance, the Serua women will soon have a women’s resource centre of their own,” Mrs Anthony said.