ACTING Australian High Commissioner Glenn Miles has officially opened new offices for civil society organisation, Homes of Hope.
"Australia recognises the critical work that Homes of Hope is doing in advancing gender equality in Fiji particularly in the area of sexual exploitation of women and children through trafficking, incest, abuse and commercial sex work," Mr Miles said at an opening ceremony.
"Gender equality is central to the economic and human development of any country — it is an important human right. It is smart economics, but most importantly it is the right thing to do."
According to a high commission statement, with funding support from Australian AID of $165 000, Homes of Hope constructed new offices as well as a bus shelter and purchased two vehicles that will allow them to improve and expand their services.
Homes of Hope was established in 1996 and has provided long-term residential care to more than 100 women rescuing them from situations where they were being sexually exploited through trafficking, abuse and commercial sex work.
Mr Miles commended the staff and directors of the Homes of Hope.
"Your work incorporates a holistic approach that works with women and children to counsel, train and provide them with practical skills to rebuild their lives," he said.
This sentiment was demonstrated with Homes of Hope holding a graduation of nine of its members on the same day.
The nine received certificates after being successful in a business training.
Homes of Hope is one of 32 civil society organisations that have been successful in receiving funding through the AusAID Fiji civil society infrastructure and capital grant proposal call.