FNU graduates’ souvenir benefits Ba women

L-R: Leanne Ratulevu and Nalini Devi making the iris for the FNU graduates. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE Fiji National University (FNU) gifted Fiji-made Fijian iri (fan) to all its graduates.

FNU Alumni Relations Manager Artila Devi said the authentic local gift was selected to mark the important achievement of the graduating students, as well as support women in our communities.

“Giving them a tangible item in the form of an iri is a small gesture from the university and one that represents our lifelong connection with the graduating students,” Ms Devi said.

FNU director Marketing and Communications Jenies Mudiliar said: “When we were initially mulling the idea of giving our graduates a graduation souvenir, we wanted it to be something close to our culture while at the same time assisting grassroot communities with their livelihood.”

“We were environmentally-conscious as well and had decided that we will not be going for off the shelf, single-use products. The graduation iri met all the criteria and was perfect for our tropical graduation setting.”

FNU selected the Ba Women’s forum, which is an umbrella organisation made up of 87 women’s club in Ba, to craft the 1400 iris.

Dr Maria Doton, president of the Ba Women’s Forum, said that the women at the training centre were taught and upskilled to be empowered and the iri was one such product they specialised in.

“Twenty-six women were permanently assigned to do the iris with three trainers supervising them. The raw materials used in making these iris were sourced out from the main producers to make sure that the supply is sustainable and regular. The vau (hibiscus fibre) came from Lau, the masi from Vatulele, and the fine magimagi are imported from the Philippines,” said Dr Doton.

To ensure durability, the supervisors carried out quality checks.

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