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Ueenteroti Women Make Bread for a Living

Ueenteroti Women Make Bread for a Living
Members of the Ueenteroti Women’s Group with Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa. Photos: Nacanieli Tuilevuka
August 10
11:00 2018

Laselase Settlement women in Rabi sell bread for a living.

In the same business they hope to empower school dropouts and women into venturing out to small businesses.

Ueenteroti Women’s Group sells about 150 loaves of bread to the four villages on Rabi.

The four villagers on the island are Tabwewa Village, formerly known as Nuku in Fijian, is the administrative centre of Rabi. Lo­cated in the far north of the island, Tabwewa boasts administrative buildings, a wharf, a post office, court house, a hospital, and a guest house – the only one on the island.

South of Tabwewa is Tabiang (formerly Siosio), the home of Ra­bi’s only secondary school and the airstrip. Other major settlements include Uma (formerly Wiinuku), between Tabwewa and Tabiang, and Buakonikai (formerly Aoteqea)


Speaking on behalf of the Lasese Women’s Group village elder Kato Hedstrom said they were proud to be working on something that gen­erated income.

Mr Hedstrom said this was espe­cially for functions regularly host­ed by the village.

“We had identified the need to have a village bakery to help us ca­ter for the needs of the villagers in the area,” Mr Hedstrom said.

“They only face the shortage of having a market outside the area and the bad road conditions.

“They were trained and went for full health check up before they worked as volunteers at the village bakery.

“This income goes back to the vil­lage and we also want other woman to come out and help us.

“If women work hard and strug­gle then there is good future for our children,” he said.

Delivery is done through the daily truck every morning and they usu­ally get orders for functions held in other small settlements in the vil­lage.

The bakery was cofounded by the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund and the United States Embas­sy Small Grants.

During the visit of the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa on Wednesday, the Women’s Group requested for assistance in the up­grade and expansion of their bak­ery to cater for the increased de­mand for fresh bread on the island.

He said the women wanted the bakery to be extended, fitted with a table, sink and cupboard, with the floor tiled and a new oven installed.

“This will definitely increase their production,” he said.

“The ladies have a strong desire to do something good, something that is right and beneficial.

“There have been comments that the Laselase bread is much bigger, than those sold by other communi­ties. Some even say that it tastes better.

“Once their bakery is upgraded, the Ueenteroti Women’s Group plan to purchase a van to deliver their bread to other villages on the island.

Minister Vuniwaqa said rural women are leaders, entrepreneurs and service providers, and their contributions are vital to the well being of families, communities and economies.

She added that it also included the achievement of the Sustainable De­velopment Goals for Government.

She encouraged women’s groups to identify areas of need for eco­nomic empowerment and to reach out to the Ministry’s offices around the country and ask for assistance.

“The key target was to provide opportunities to increase women’s active participation and to enhance their livelihood through an added platform,” Mrs Vuniwaqa said.

She said when women are empow­ered, families, communities and the nation benefit.

“Gender equality is closely related to customs and social development. Given that cultures differ from East to West, gender issues vary from nation to nation.

“The advancement of gender equality, whether in developed or developing countries will take time – perhaps a long time, before the ultimate goal of gender equality is achieved,” she said.

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