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$130k shelter

Shayal Devi
Tuesday, February 18, 2014

LONG uncomfortable nights sleeping on the cold hard floor of the Lautoka market will soon be a thing of the past for women market vendors travelling from outer islands and the highlands.

Yesterday, the city council started constructing a new $130,000 accommodation centre at the Sugar City Mall.

Lautoka Market Vendors Association president Makereta Rika said many women vendors had no place to stay.

"They come from out of Lautoka and have no place to stay or sleep," she said.

"We have close to 60 women who come from Yasawa, Yakete and Ra. Many of these women often sleep outside with their babies."

She said on many occasions, the council was approached for assistance with shelter, especially during bad weather.

"And I am very pleased with the council for taking this step as it means better services for women who come to earn a living from outside of Lautoka."

Lautoka special administrator Praveen Bala said the location was very convenient because it was close to the market.

"We have commenced with the project and it will have 60 beds, a kitchen, toilet and bathroom facilities, a laundry and dining area," Mr Bala said.

"This is being funded by the Lautoka City Council and UN Women.

"We will decide on other technicalities and there will be a criteria for the women who will be staying at the accommodation centre."

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