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Gender Equality And Mental Health For Males Get The Spotlight

Eta Apa and Shereen Shivangni Lata are among seven contestants who will be vying for the 2022 Queen’s Crown at the Vodafone Tebara Festival in Nausori from October 8 to 15 at Syria Park.
22 Sep 2022 13:00
Gender Equality And Mental Health For Males Get The Spotlight
From left: Eta Apa and Shereen Lata.

Eta Apa and Shereen Shivangni Lata are among seven contestants who will be vying for the 2022 Queen’s Crown at the Vodafone Tebara Festival in Nausori from October 8 to 15 at Syria Park.

 

Eta Apa

Ms Apa is originally from Buca in Tunuloa, Cakaudrove Province with maternal links to Navaga, Koro in Lomaiviti Province. Like most contestants should possess, she has good oratory skills being eloquent and sharp with everything she says.

The 19-year-old first year Fiji National University student is pursuing a Bachelor in Secondary Education at Nasinu Campus.

She actually caught her family in Tunuloa by surprise when she told them she would be one of the contestants.

 

“They were surprised because they knew that I’m not a serious person I am loud,” she said laughing.

“When I applied to be one of the contestants, I really wanted to experience what it’s like to be part of an event of such magnitude.”

Her advocacy message in this year’s carnival is all about ‘Gender Equality’, something she remarked as “A boiling issue that still needs to be discussed”.

 

“In the week-long festival, I will use the platform to bring attention to Gender Equality, I find this topic as something that is still relevant to be discussed and as something that shapes our community.”

After classes she travels from Nasinu to Nausori to practise and rehearse for the upcoming festival. She is sponsored by Pak n Save Supermarket for the 2002 festival which will take place after a lapse of two years because of COVID-19.

 

Shereen Shivangni Lata

Ms Lata, 24, is originally from the western town of Tavua and is the eldest in the family.

In 2017, Ms Lata received a Bachelor of Commerce and Graduate Certificate in Education, majoring in Accounting and Economics from the University of the South Pacific.

She is enrolled in the Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Accounting, and will be graduating in October next year.

 

Ms Lata is sponsored by Pehnawa Fashion, a leading sensation of authentic Indian clothing in Fiji.

It is one of the leading retailers of Indian ethnic clothing. For this year’s carnival she will be advocating on mental health for males, a relevant issue, she said that still needs to be addressed.

“I have chosen mental health for men because I believe this is still an issue that needs urgent redress,” Ms Lata said.

 

“One day I was sitting at my work place when I stumbled upon the Fiji Police Force annual report on the statistic about males having high suicide rates.”

“Some years back I had a colleague of mine who had lost her husband to suicide, this is why I see this topic as a relevant one to be discussed in public,” Ms Lata said.

“Why are males, every year up on the statistic bar? It’s constant.”

 

She said platforms like the upcoming carnival would provide the centre stage for such issues to be discussed.

“We have always known that women have been the victim of abuse but men also face abuse, we need more voices to support our men too.”

“Just like how women have a women’s centre, I believe that men should also have their own centre.”

 

Story By: jone.salusalu@fijisun.com.fj



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