Women break barriers

Whoever said carpentry was a man’s job only needs to be corrected.

Emele Sogovosa and Tailasa Kotobalavu are the best description of the song Strength of a Woman by R&B singer Shaggy.

Both Emele and Tailasa were two of six young women that participated and graduated with a certificate of attainment in the first ever basic carpentry training at Navaga Village on the island of Koro.

Fifty-five youths from six villages that make up the district of Cawa attended the week-long workshop, which was funded by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and facilitated by officials from the Fiji National University’s Technical College.

Twenty-one-year-old Emele of Navaga Village said after the workshop she was looking forward to assisting in the rebuilding of homes in the village.

Educated at the Suva Special School in 2006, she said, all she needed was a set of tools so that she could help with the men as they rebuild their homes after the destruction of Severe TC Winston.

“I want to start building straightaway, at the same time I would also love to continue with my studies.”

Her father, Jaoji Malumalumu, added he would support his daughter in her decisions.

“She is not really good at theory but she is very good at practical.

“I believe in her, she’ll be a great carpenter. For me, being a carpenter, I will help her achieve her goal.”

Thirty-one-year-old Tailasa was educated at Nabasovi District School before completing her secondary education at Lelean Memorial School.

With a trade diploma in computer studies from the Fiji National University, the former Ministry of Health and Water Authority of Fiji employee said the workshop had opened a new door of opportunity for her.

Now working as an administration officer for Dere Bay Resort, the Navaga lass believes women can do men’s job.

“While we may not be able to lift heavy things, we can be the best at what we do and I believe we can be the best in this trade,” she said confidently.

“I look forward to sharing my knowledge and what I have learnt with the villagers. I look forward to helping the men in the village as we rebuild our homes.”

While presenting certificates of attainment to participants, Minister for Youth and Sports Laisenia Tuitubou called on youths to put to practice what they had learnt and ensure they also continued with their studies.

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