Fiji Time: 4:53 AM on Saturday 28 February

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Mother of Pearls empowers rural housewives

Shayal Devi
Monday, March 17, 2014

TEN housewives from Ba are the first group of women in the country to learn to make shell jewellery using local materials.

The women went through weeks of training under the Mother of Pearls project facilitated by the Ba Women's Forum in conjunction with Adelaide University, USP and Ba Town Council and received their certificates in a graduation ceremony in Ba yesterday.

For 51-year-old Urmila Narayan, she took up the training because she was tired of her daily routine at home and wanted to do something new.

The Varadoli resident said her family was supportive of her decision.

"Taking the classes has been so much fun and all the ladies have really connected," she said.

Similar sentiments were echoed by mother-of-two Nazmin Azam, who said the project was a way of helping rural women recognise their potential.

Ba Women's Forum president Dr Maria Doton said jewellery would not necessarily need to be imported from overseas.

"The women create everything using local products so that imports will no longer be necessary," she said.

"We have the equipment from Australia and the women have made a lot of progress with regards to this program. It is a good chance for the women to learn first-hand then pass on those skills to women living in coastal areas where shells are found in abundance."