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Skill to last a lifetime

The Fiji Times (online), 23 June 2017 - WHEN her husband, the sole breadwinner in the family passed away unexpectedly in 2015, Raijeli Kovisa sat quietly at home and contemplated their future as a family.

"As you know, income from being a security guard is not much. My husband struggled to make ends meet and I would help supplement our income by working as a house girl or do other menial jobs," the mother of six said.

"I told myself no matter what, I would not give up as my four younger children, who were still in school, needed me.

"I had to be strong for them."

She then heard about a vocational training provided by the Makoi Women's Vocational Training Centre, about eight miles from Suva. Since she stayed near the area, it came as a blessing.

The Wainibuka, Tailevu, native then embarked on learning as much as she could at the centre.

"The centre offered training in sewing, and it was offered free.

"Before I started, I had never even touched a sewing machine but I was determined.

"I learnt how to cut cloths for various designs and by the fourth week of my training, I was able to sew a shirt or dress," the 49-year-old said proudly.

Raijeli was at the 3rd National Women's Expo last week with other participants of the Makoi Women's Vocational Training Centre.

At their tent were rows of beautiful sulu and jaba as well as pillowcases and shirts on display. These were some of Raijeli and other participants' handiwork.

She even designed and made the dress she wore at the expo.

"The good thing about this training is that after completion, we get free sewing machines and given a grant to start our own business. This is what I am aiming for," she said with a smile.

"I am a tough woman. I am used to challenges that beset us and I won't give in to such circumstances.

"My advice to women who've lost their husbands or even single mothers is that don't ever allow circumstances you're in dictate your life. There's always programs out there to help you stand on your own two feet. Just get up and go for it."


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