A NEW marketing and handicraft centre for the Banaban community opened yesterday has been labelled a "dream come true" by Banaban women.
The first of its kind in the country, Minister for Women, Dr Jiko Luveni congratulated the Banaban Elders and Landowners Association and encouraged women to make use of the opportunities offered through the centre.
"The opening of this complex is to market your handicraft products as a new beginning for your communities to achieve economic development, but most importantly it will promote the Banaban culture and tradition," Dr Luveni said.
She said the centre would enable the elder generation of women to achieve economic independence.
"Women have a longer life expectancy than men, so we should have the confidence to face challenges in our lives. There is a lot we can do to improve our livelihoods given our skills and resources," Dr Luveni said.
The adviser of the landowners association, Penelise Alofa, said they would also venture into the production of Virgin Coconut Oil to be sold at the centre.
"We have been waiting for this centre to open so we can sell our handicrafts and items from."
The centre is located at Suva's Banaba House.