People | Nurturing hope at home

Elena Likuderebula Cavu Qalobula with artwork crafted by women of Homes of Hope. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Providing hope and a fresh start in life may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

But for Elena Likuderebula, it is a role she has slipped into with effortless ease.

As a young woman who went through numerous hardships to get to where she is today, she focused on forging a path forward by aiding her fellow sisters along.

Originally from Delailasakau, Waidina in Naitasiri, Ms Likuderebula is a teacher at Homes of Hope.

At her work place, she helps other like-minded young women cultivate skills that could help earn a living.

“Home of Hope is an organisation where we equip our girls with skills,” she said.

“It has been in existence for the past 27 years and looks after survivors and victims of rape, sex trafficking and the list goes on.”

Residents of the home are provided with holistic training on both hard and soft skills training.

Hard skills training, consists of farming, sewing, baking, and food processing.

On the other hand, soft skills include developing and enhancing non-technical skills, such as communications and time management.

The home takes part in different public events too, like Fiji Showcase, to help sell residents’ work of art.

The icing on the cake for the organisation was being invited to sell their products at the recent Pacific Islands Forum women ministers’ meeting in Suva.

Such opportunities, Ms Likuderebula said helped to boost confidence for women at the home.

“We have different departments at Homes of Hope. We have a campus department, one that looks after the girls and the training department, that’s us.

“We have the community department. Our department trains them things like in sewing and craftwork.”

She was first a resident of the home, but through perseverance she was offered the opportunity to be a member of the staff.

Ms Likuderebula said Homes of Hope partnered with Days for Girls Australia.

“I taught them to sew and make these products. In the beginning, I had a hard time teaching them, starting from straight lines, zigzag stitches and other stitches.

“I feel happy because I’m one of them. I’ve already gone past what they’re going through and now, I want to help them.”

Through trainings women at the home make scrunchies, mobile bags, cosmetic bags, place mats, curtain rings and other handicraft items.

Ms Likuderebula said women could do anything if they set their goals and worked towards them.

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