Program to empower women

The Fiji Women's Crisis Centre Informal Waste Pickers Workshop participants Mereani Kalekale, Makalesi Gaunavou and Losalini Naivala at Tanao Hotel yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Women are often burdened by structural violence where they are denied the basic human rights in their homes and also in communities, says Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) coordinator Shamima Ali.

During the FWCC Informal Waste Pickers Workshop yesterday, Ms Ali said women were denied access to education, access to health facilities, reproductive rights, reproductive health facilities, economic development of women, and a lack of access to the total lack of privileges that men were often given as a right.

Ms Ali said children as young as four months were often subjects of sexual assault.

“When we talk about women and girls, we are also talking about children are young as four months are subjected to sexual assault and these are well-documented in police records,” she said.

“Patriarchy and male-dominated structures and systems enable this gross violation of women’s human rights daily in Fiji and in the Pacific and the rest of the world.

“The program this week aims to empower all you women here by learning more about your power to take agency to better your own lives and not having to ask other people to do it for you. At the end of the week, you will be providing agency for yourself.”

Waste Recyclers Fiji Ltd (WRFL) director and CEO Amitesh Deo acknowledged the dedication and sacrifices the women had made to attend the one-week workshop.

“This one-week workshop they are running beginning today and supported by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre will help educate these 16 women of their rights and also encourage them to be more vocal to better help their families and communities back home.”

The workshop is organised by WRFL in partnership with FWCC and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, aimed at empowering 16 women informal waste pickers in the area of human rights and empowerment advocacy.

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