Eighty rural women from the Eastern Division were so delighted to be able to set foot in Parliament yesterday, Monday 12th June 2017.
The programme was part of the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation 2017 Women’s Expo, sponsored by UNDP’s REACH project and Legal Aid Commission.
55-year old Joana Fereti was part of the 14 women that came all the way from Rotuma.
“This is the first time for me to visit Parliament and I count myself very lucky to be part of this visit. I believe that with God, all things are possible,” Ms Fereti said.
Three women from Ovalau, Fane Ulunisau, Vasiti Adimaira, Sera Bainikea were also part of the programme.
“For us, the programme is much better than 2015 and we are so thankful to the Ministry of Women for putting together this programme to enable us to visit Parliament as we only hear about it in the media.”
For Ms Bainikea, she thought that Parliament was only for the parliamentarians but today she heard that members of the public can sit inside and listen to the debates.
Women Members of Parliament, Hon. Jilila Kumar and Hon. Salote Radrodro shared their experiences with the women and thanked them for all that they do in their various provinces preparing handicrafts
to be showcased at the expo and also their contribution to the community.
Secretary-General to Parliament, Mrs. Viniana Namosimalua welcomed the women to Parliament on behalf of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and members of Parliament.
She stressed that Parliament is for the people and also explained how they can be connected to Parliament.
“It is important to know that this is your house, understand how you can engage with Parliament and the various processes that are available, in terms of committees, talking to your representatives as this is how we connect to Parliament.”
“You have every right to walk into this house and talk to the people you voted in to represent your needs and your interests and how you can raise your standards of living. This is where it all happens in terms of laws and policies of this Government to do with your daily lives,” Mrs. Namosimalua said.
Other activities were organised for the women around greater Suva area whilst waiting for the Expo to be opened tomorrow, Wednesday 14th June 2017.