‘Centre Will Help You Reach Potential’

The following is part of the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa’s speech during the opening of the Women’s Resource Centre in Lau. The Minister opened centres
26 Aug 2017 11:00
‘Centre Will Help You Reach Potential’
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa (sixth from left), Assistant Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Veena Bhatnagar (eighth from left), and Permanent Secretary for Women,Children and Poverty Alleviation Dr Josefa Koroivueta (right), with villagers of Yadrana, Lakeba, Lau. Photo: Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation

The following is part of the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa’s speech during the opening of the Women’s Resource Centre in Lau. The Minister opened centres in Yadrana Village, Lakeba and Waiqori Village, Oneata in Lau. 


It gives me an immense pleasure to be present here and also I am very delighted that we have finally all gathered here, to officiate the Opening of the Women’s Resource Centre.

I must acknowledge the continuous support of the Vanua and all our stakeholders, towards this landmark which has become a reality for our rural women, today.

I believe as we provide an enabling environment of learning and opportunities for our grandmothers, mothers and sisters, they will thrive towards change and development only for the better.

Empowering women and uplifting their social status is the key to achieving a vibrant economy which is free of violence and offers gender equality.

Poverty is the main root cause of domestic violence as it is only when we empower the women, will we truly eradicate all forms of violence in our society.

The Government through the strategic reforms will continue to provide equal opportunities and empower the women educationally, economically and politically.

Government is committed towards alleviating poverty at all spheres of our economy and this initiative, contributes towards economic growth and expansion at community level.

I wish to reiterate, the need to recognise the contribution of rural women.

Around the world, resilient and resourceful rural women contribute in a multitude of ways through different livelihood strategies to lifting their families and communities out of poverty.

Far too often, the long hours of work that rural women engage in are not defined as “economically active employment” in national accounts but are essential to the well-being of their households.

As my Ministry continues to promote economic empowerment programmes, there will always be hindrances of full economic participation of women in our communities, and that is – high prevalence of domestic violence that is on the increase in our homes today.

I sincerely urge our community leaders, fathers, mothers, single parents and young people that are here this morning, let’s come together and take action now.

Let’s get rid of all forms of discriminations against women in our lives. Discrimination stems from a mindset.

This mindset has to change and the time is now.

I believe that as we create a safe environment for our mothers, sisters and children, we are able to grow strong together and instill in our hearts the love, trust and sense of belonging.

Let us respect one another and console the values and believes that we are known for, in our individual families.

Today as you enter into this new paradigm of development and as women entrepreneurs, do utilise your potentials to the fullest and to what God has blessed everyone with.

This Centre will definitely be the platform of your new beginnings, team building, and building confidence within your circle.

To all women who are present here today, your contribution to change, to improving the status of women can be many.

From standing in solidarity with other women to influence a better future not only for women, but also for men; focusing your energy in not fighting the old but building the new in improving your lives and those around you.

You have a lot of power to be that change.

Embrace it, harness it and make it your cause.

In line with our responsibility as signatories of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Government of Fiji has implemented several policies, programmes and projects that have helped empower our Fijian women as mentioned earlier.

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, being the line ministry in implementing policies, programmes and projects related to women’s empowerment can boast that the National Women’s Expo, including the Provincial Craft Shows is a good example of a successful programme that has built the capacities of rural women artisans and connected them to markets for the sustainability of their income generating projects funded by the Ministry.

I hope that from the WRC being your place to do your economic activities from, you will be able to make it to the national platform with your products.

Source: Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation




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