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Khan: 380 women benefit from centre

Manasa Kalouniviti
Tuesday, March 06, 2018

SO far more than 380 underprivileged women have benefitted from the centre since we opened it in 2015.

Hafiz Khan, the president of the Fiji Muslim League, made the comment during their open day at the Makoi Women's Vocational Training Centre last Saturday.

"Most of these women have moved out of poverty and I think around 80 per cent of them are either self-employed and have started their own businesses or have managed to secure good paying jobs after being trained at the centre.

"They are now doing something gainful which they probably were not doing at all," Mr Khan said.

He said these women came from villages and rural areas, some lived in squatter settlements and some of them lived in HART settlements.

"So they have come here to get trained so it can help them earn some money because it's basic bread and butter issue for them," he said.

Mr Khan said their stories were very touching and it was surprising what some of them went through.

"And you'll also be surprised at the level of poverty faced by some of our underprivileged women," Mr Khan said.

"The training programs offered free at the centre are one of the ways in which the Fiji Muslim League gives back to the Fijian community."

Centre manager Shazna Khan said the training centre was an initiative of the Fiji Muslim League particularly focused on Fiji's underprivileged women.

"So they built the centre to help these women work towards self-sustainability. These women include school dropouts, widows, single mothers, women who are abused; mostly women who are unemployed and live below the poverty line," she said.

Ms Khan said: "While sewing and cooking were courses offered initially, last we icluded embroidery with sewing and pastry with cooking and brought in trainers from Indonesia for these.

"We also this year started a hydroponics course and have also brought in a specialist trainer from Indonesia for that."

The women students had a chance to showcase their products in sewing and embroidery with their cooking and pastry dishes during their open day.

Ms Shazna said they also helped the women by connecting them to financiers such as Westpac Bank who offered places for the women in their Westpac Market Day.

"We also help them obtain small business loans and also helped in connecting them with markets for their produce."

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