A NEW lease of life has emerged for a group of Macuata women with the opening of their first-ever village bakery last month.
They no longer need to spend $5 or more to travel to Labasa Town to buy bread.
The Mataniwai Women's Group project is worth more than $7000 and is a money saver for the villagers.
Bakery supervisor Karalaini Sukitono said they decided to embark on the project because most villagers preferred bread for breakfast.
"This is a women's project planned five years ago with the support from the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation," Ms Sukitono said.
"At first, it was really hard to construct the bakery because of financial constraints, so we decided to organise fundraising drives to fund for the building material," she said.
"It was challenging but we struggled our way through until it was completed in December last year," she added.
Ms Sukitono said the bakery was now supplying enough bread for the villagers.
"Since its inception, we are baking at least 54 loaves of bread for $1 in a day and we have saved about $250 so far," she said.
"There are about 30 women who are baking voluntarily and once the business financially grows, we will start paying them.
"If all goes according to plan, the savings will be used to fund other women's projects in the village."
Yesterday, Women's Minister Doctor Jiko Luveni encouraged the men to support the women's projects.
Dr Luveni said it would not only encourage women to work harder but it would also develop better relationships between men and women.