The establishment of a Women Resource Centre in the remote village of Ovalau in the Ra Province will secure employment opportunities for the women living there.
This week the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni travelled to the remote village to officiate at the opening of the new centre. Funded by Government, Dr Jiko Luveni said the new centre would become an avenue for the women there to produce items for commercial gain. As she presented new sewing machines to use in the centre, she highlighted that establishing economic opportunities for the women in remote communities is an area that the Bainimarama government is keen to capitalise on.
“The new Centre will be a platform to generate economic development by capitalizing on the resources and skills available. It will enable the men and women to work together and alleviate poverty in their village, especially when they are custodian of the natural resources, they will be equipped with skills to produce export driven products”.
The Minister pointed out that like most other centres established across the country especially in rural and remote parts, the new centre will empower the women and contribute further to their community.
“The centre will integrate women into future development programs and it will cultivate self-sufficiency skills for the present and future generations. The Ministry will also facilitate educational and informative workshops relative to women’s leadership, financial literacy, gender equality and elimination of violence to name few. As the minister for women, I am glad to have come this far to meet this community which has great potentials to develop and today’s event is just the beginning of a new partnership to improve the lives of Ovalau villagers,” the Minister explained.
The Ovalau Women’s Club president Mrs Aloesi Nai said the Centre has been a welcomed development amongst the women of the village, most of whom are domestic workers.
“Life far away from main land is very challenging especially for women who struggle to support their families by doing subsistence farming and weaving handicrafts. The children also have to cross the river daily to attend the Nasau District School. The assistance from the ministry will go a long way in easing the challenges we face, through the new centre, women will be able to sew school uniforms, bake bread and take orders for catering to earn income for their families. We are also determined to open a savings account and collect money for village projects like new footpaths. These ideas have been shared to us by Madam Minister who has inspired us to utilize our god given talents to become the agents of change in our village,” Mrs Nai said.
Expressing similar sentiments, Mr Paula Tuinaserau, village headman for Ovalau village commended the Bainimarama government for creating new pathways for development.
“In all these 60 years that I have lived in this village, it is the first time for me to meet a minister who has come right down to our village. Through the talanoa session, we were able to seek information and network with government officials to assist us with agricultural development and road improvement.
“We are also grateful to the Bainimarama government for giving us our first development project that will foster positive changes and is a great incentive for my people to work together with the government to build a progressive society. We know that distance is not a barrier and this has been proven by the government team that has taken time to visit us today,” Mr Tuinaserau said.