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Giving Back To Locals

Fiji International dedicated to community initiatives for the Sanasana Village The Fiji International is a world-class golf tournament with a global focus but event organisers believe it is important to
05 May 2017 11:00
Giving Back To Locals
The Fiji International funded and facilitated a women’s workshop conducted by the Fiji Arts Council for Sanasana Village The workshop was attended by 38 women who were up skilled in screen printing and shell jewellery making. Photo: Fiji International

Fiji International dedicated to community initiatives for the Sanasana Village

The Fiji International is a world-class golf tournament with a global focus but event organisers believe it is important to act locally.

While many considerations in the planning of the Fiji International have to be undertaken thinking of the 400 million homes around the world that the tournament is broadcast to, the tournament itself would not be possible without the support of the Fijian people.

One of the biggest supporters of the tournament is the Sanasana Village and each year the Fiji International likes to give back to the community which gives them so much.

The Sanasana Village warmly welcomes the Fiji International competitors each year with a sevusevu ceremony on the 18th green at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course.

In 2016, PGA TOUR winner Boo Weekley was honoured to be involved in this ceremony saying, “It was something special to be invited to; it was overwhelming to be a part of.”

The tournament week is also appropriately closed with a beautiful farewell from the Sanasana Village with their choir performing the Isa Lei.

The Fiji International also provides an opportunity to the men of the Sanasana Village to be employed by the Professional golfers as caddies.

Caddies are an essential part of any golf tournament and team up with the Professionals. They take on the responsibility of caring for the players golf clubs. They not only carry the players clubs around the golf course but they look after their club maintenance so that the players can compete at an optimum level.

While some Professionals choose to bring their own caddy to the Fiji International, the tournament has, since its inception, conducted caddy training to ensure the Fijian caddies are highly skilled, ensuring they continue to be employed by the Professionals each year.

Many players, including Edward Stedman from New South Wales enjoy working with Fijian caddies. Stedman utilised the services of a Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course caddy, Knox, in 2015. Knox also worked with inaugural champion Steven Jeffress when he won in 2014.

“Knox is a great fellow; he just cruises along he’s typical Fijian. I’ve known Knox for about the same sort of time Steve has, the last five or six years,” said Stedman.

“He’s very positive and very good on the wind which is obviously a factor at Natadola. So to have someone that is also a local is a great help.”

The Fiji International also likes to work with the Sanasana Village in pursuits important to them.

In 2014 the Sanasana rugby team proudly wore new rugby uniforms donated by the Fiji International. In 2015 training was taken to a new level with new training kits and then in 2016 preparations for a new gym was given a boost with all new equipment supplied.

Working with the Sanasana Village on projects important to them is all a part of the Fiji Internationals community outreach programme.

This year the Fiji International was proud to fund and facilitate a Women’s workshop conducted by the Fiji Arts Council for the Sanasana Village.

The main aim of the workshop was to elevate and develop craft skills for the crafters of Sanasana Villages so that they meet the criteria of Fijian Made and Fijian Crafted products. One of the main standards for this enterprise is making handcrafted souvenirs from local raw materials and most of all, value added products which meet the Tourism market standard.

The workshop was attended by 38 women who were up skilled in screen printing and shell jewellery making.

“One of the critical areas of responsibility of the Fiji Arts Council is capacity building and we would like to record our appreciation for our great partnership with the Fiji International which resulted in a very successful workshop gauging from the quality of crafts on display,” said Peni Cavuilagi, from the Fiji Arts Council.

The products produced by these crafters were of beautiful quality and will be on sale during the 2017 Fiji International tournament being played at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course on August 17-20.

“I was honoured to visit Sanasana Village for the Women’s Workshop. The Sanasana village has always been a great supporter of the Fiji International and so we are delighted to thank them for their dedication by funding this workshop,” said Natalie Ritter, General Manager of the Fiji International.

“The ladies are incredibly talented and the handicrafts that they created were beautiful. I am sure they will be very popular when they are on sale during the Fiji International.”

Other community initiatives conducted more broadly across Fiji by the Fiji International includes the “Give Golf A Go” Road Show and Golf in Schools program.

Source: Fiji International

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