Suva Market Vendors Eager To Meet Duchess Of Sussex

Eight market vendors from the Suva United Market Vendors Associa­tion will have a chance to meet Her Royal Highness, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex tomorrow. With preparations underway for the
23 Oct 2018 10:31
Suva Market Vendors Eager To Meet Duchess Of Sussex
Suva market vendors who will be meeting the Duchess of Sussex tomorrow. They are (back row, from left), Ladi Ligaloa, Asenaca Salusalu, Sofia Talei, Tagilala Galu and Mahendra Kumar (front row, from left), Shobna Verma, Seinicaucau Navakaroko, Jale Moce and Krishan Kumar pictured at the Suva Municipal Market on October 22, 2018. Photo: Sheenam Chandra

Eight market vendors from the Suva United Market Vendors Associa­tion will have a chance to meet Her Royal Highness, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex tomorrow.

With preparations underway for the royal visit at the Suva Municipal Market, the as­sociation members were well prepared to meet the Duchess.

Shobna Verma, 58, is one of the ushers who will be showing the Duchess the vari­ous projects and services the market ven­dors had been provided with by the UN Women for Market Change.

“With the training we received from the UN Markets for Change, we had learned so much,” Ms Verma said.

“The women have gained confidence and were provided better services and ideal working conditions such as proper bath­rooms, accommodation and facilities.”

Ms Verma has been working as a market vendor for the last 27 years.

“I inherited my father’s business when he passed away and I became a widow early into my marriage. I had to support my family of two sons and I had to work in the market, selling eggs.

“Now it is a rewarding occasion. I am so lucky to meet with the Duchess of Sussex and I want to show her our projects and the work we are doing.

“As a mother, I am so proud that my chil­dren will witness me meeting and usher­ing the Duchess,” she said.

Ms Verma and fellow vendor Sofia Talei were selected as the two ushers to guide Her Royal Highness during her market visit.

Seinicaucau Navakaroko, a 55-year-old vendor, said she also wants to show the Duchess how the Markets for Change Pro­gramme has helped.

“I have seven children and I have to pro­vide for them and the only way I could do this was through market vending,” she said.

“I lacked self-confidence and self-esteem in myself, but with the Markets for Change Programme (M4C) I have learned how to budget and prioritise, as well as how to make profits every day. All my life I was a stay-at-home mum, but now working as a market vendor for more than an year has taught me valuable and lifelong lessons.

Jale Moce, 62, another member of the market association said he is eager to meet someone of royal stature.

“I will be singing Isa Lei to the Duchess with my guitar. I have been practicing for two weeks now and I have now prepared myself for the performance,” he said.

“As a father of five, who has been work­ing as a market vendor for 30 years, I feel so proud and special that I have been given the opportunity. My children could not be­lieve it when I broke the news to them.”


Where Members Of the Public Can See the Duke and Duchess of Sussex



Traditional Welcome Ceremony.

4pm: Members of the public are invited to be seated at Albert Park by this time.

6pm to 6:45pm: Traditional ceremony of welcome will take place, followed by a royal wave from the Grand Pacific Hotel balcony.



University of the South Pacific

9:45am to 10:45am: The Duke and Duchess will be at USP. Students and staff are advised to be seated by 9am at the Upper Rara as well as the Dining Hall to view proceedings on digital screens.

Students and staff can also be a part of the line-up along the road to the exit gate where the royal couple will pass to and from the Japan-Pacific ICT Multipurpose Theatre.


Colo-i-Suva Forest Park

After their visit to USP the Duke will travel to Colo-i-Suva for the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy unveiling; whilst the Duchess will visit women’s groups representatives at the British High Commissioner’s residence.

11:30am: The Duchess will visit the Suva Municipal Market.

The routes that their motorcades will take that have schools en route have an opportunity to stand on the roadside and wave flags as the royal entourage passes.



They will travel to the Nadi International Airport in the morning where Prince Harry will unveil the statue of the late Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba at 11am

After which they will take a chartered flight to Tonga.


Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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