NATION

Sanctuary Open For Women Victims Of Violence

Yesterday, the sanctuary was officially handed over to the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa and her ministry.
21 Mar 2021 10:00
Sanctuary Open For Women Victims Of Violence
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa with her Assistant Minister Veena Bhatnagar among the women of Soroptimist International outside the Sanctuary Shelter for Women that was officially handed over to the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation at Natabua, Lautoka, on March 20, 2021. Photo: Nicolette Chambers

A sanctuary in Natabua, Lautoka, is now open for women victims of violence.

The shelter, a project of the Soroptimist International South West Pacific is the realisation of an idea of the president for the Soroptimist International Ba, Dr Maria Doton six years ago.

Today, she is delighted knowing that her dream to see to the immediate needs of women who have experienced any sort of violence in their life had now become a reality.

Yesterday, the sanctuary was officially handed over to the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa and her ministry.

She said violence against women, and girls were too common.

She said the shelter was about providing security, safety and protection for victims displaced by domestic and gender-based violence.

“In order to solve a national problem, there must be an evidence-based as well as a shared understanding among us Fijians for what causes it,” she said.

“The National Action Plan will explain, using data and evidence, what the root causes of violence against all women and girls are in Fiji, and what are the contributing factors that make the violence more likely to happen.

“Therefore, shelters like this play a critical role in enhancing the safety and well-being of gender-based violence victims.”

She said while there was reason to celebrate the milestone achievement, violence hasn’t stopped and through that, a positive mind set must be set amongst everyone.

Dr Doton said the project went through many challenges, but she was certain that the future women who would occupy the shelter would move away from the violent world they lived in.

“In this shelter we the women of Soroptimist International will continue to counsel these women, forget the scars though how deep it may be, in this shelter they will find the sanctuary they need,” she said.

“This sanctuary will give them the value of the gift of God which is love and life and no woman or girl will be left alone.”

Soroptimist International South West Pacific president, Suman Lal said it was a glorious occasion for the women of the group.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback: nicolette.chambers@fijisun.com.fj



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