Opening Doors for Skilled Women: Vuniwaqa

The following is a transcript of the address by the Minister at the Closing of Nailuva Youth Carpentry Training 3 on Friday, April 28th, 2017, Saivou Village, Nailuva, Ra Permanent
02 May 2017 11:00
Opening Doors for Skilled Women: Vuniwaqa
Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Minister for Women, Children And Poverty Alleviation

The following is a transcript of the address by the Minister at the Closing of Nailuva Youth Carpentry Training 3 on Friday, April 28th, 2017, Saivou Village, Nailuva, Ra

Permanent Secretary

Provincial Administrator

Roko Tui Ra

Graduating participants

of the Training

Invited guests

Friends from the Media

Ladies and gentleman

Good afternoon.

It is an exciting afternoon as we are gathered to conclude a very important training.

I wish to begin by thanking the Ministry of Youth and Sports for organising this training program and strategically choosing Ra, which was the one of the worst affected areas during Tropical Cyclone Winston to implement the program in.

I must also thank them for engaging women in this training, especially because carpentry is too often seen as a ‘man’s job’.

In a world where women are business owners, engineers, police officers, educators, astronauts, military officers, truck drivers, air force pilots and farmers, we rarely hear of a woman who is a carpenter.

Fiji is fast developing and the Fijian women are adapting to the changes just as quickly.

It is very timely that we introduce them to skills that were traditionally the niche’ of men and involve them as equal players in every field.

May I also acknowledge the fact that the role of youths towards nation building can never be overemphasized. Youths are filled with tremendous and towering ambitions and the vision of our country is in their hands.

It will be a great wastage of human resources if youths are not given an opportunity to exercise their talents. We, the leaders of today know too well that youths are the leaders of tomorrow and we want to be able to handover our nation in capable hands by investing in the development of our youths today.

Learning skills for this trade can allow you to pursue many types of carpentry jobs.

As a matter of fact, carpentry and woodworking represent one of the most versatile occupational sectors that you can enter.

It doesn’t just touch most aspects of construction; it also touches many aspects of our lives that we might not think about as much. You have been taught a lifelong skill.

As I mentioned earlier, your community was selected for this training because you were one of the worst hit by Tropical Cyclone Winston.

The skills you have learned have now equipped you to not only help your kin in rebuilding homes lost during Winston but also to have the means of earning a livelihood as handymen and carpenters.

You can now build your own homes when you do start your own families.

It was in light of the life changing and extremely unfortunate events of TC Winston that the Fijian Government implemented the Help for Home initiative; in an effort to support the affected Fijians rebuild their homes. We are still in the midst of the third phase for the help for home initiative and we acknowledge that the building process itself poses a whole new set of challenges for us in the rural communities.

This training was initiated by the Ministry of Youths not only to tackle head-on the lack of carpentry skills needed for the rebuilding process but also to empower youths with lifelong skills which can enhance livelihoods.

To the 65 graduates today, the skills you attained in this week will stay with you for good and as the saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect’, and with experience you will become better and better at the job.

With higher expertise you will be able to earn better livelihoods and in turn achieve an improved quality of life.

It is truly a great investment of the Government to be bringing programs like this to rural communities and my ministry is glad to have been able to render its support towards it.

The certificates you will receive today is from the Technical College of Fiji which is an accredited higher education institution in Fiji.

The Technical Colleges around Fiji are an initiative by Government and which aim to provide an avenue of skills training for those students who may not find their niche in the mainstream education system.

I understand that there are 10 female graduates here today.

I thank you for getting rid of gendered perceptions of what women can or cannot do and volunteering for this training.

By way of background, only about 28 per cent to 30 per cent of females actually take up and graduate from vocational and technical training and I am sure that if we looked much closer we will find that females will only be graduating from cooking, sewing, and other vocational and technical training which fit in with society’s views of what a woman’s role is.

Your graduating from carpentry training today therefore is something to celebrate.

You are actually contributing and enhancing my Ministry’s aim of attaining our national goal towards gender equality and the empowerment of women.  I urge you to go out there and make use of the skills you have been taught.  I also ask your male colleagues here and community elders to give you the space and the encouragement needed to enable you to put your newly learnt skills to good use.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women cannot be achieved without the much needed social support from our local communities and from our own homes.

I wish to congratulate all of you graduates here today and I wish you the very best with your future endeavours.


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