WIDOWED 18 years ago, Stella Smith is all too familiar with the struggles a woman faces after the death of her husband.
She had to not only educate her children but also put food on the table, an experience associated with a hard part of her life that succeeded in making her independent.
The 62-year-old believes women, particularly widows, need to be given some training so that they are able to support their families.
Ms Smith has welcomed the $1million project undertaken by the NGO Life bread-Stay Connected Fiji (Ltd) to build a home and training centre in Teidamu, Lautoka, for widows.
"Some of these women have talents and once we bring them in, we will upskill them to do and sell things in their community that would make them independent," she said.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the project was performed by Minister for Women, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni.
She hailed the development and said initiatives as such were the outcome of partnerships between the private organisations and NGOs that made it possible.
"This will help us progress our services to the women and disadvantaged in the communities," Dr Luveni said.
The centre will be called Almanah Hope Centre and will accommodate about 20 widows.
These women would be identified by the Ministry of Women.
Director of Life bread-Stay-Connected Fiji Dorinda Work said in April, they entered in a partnership with the government.
"This partnership is geared to providing hope to a vulnerable section of our community," Mrs Work said.