Preparations for Fiji’s biggest women’s event, the National Women’s Expo and Rural Designer Award Night 2014 is in progress, with various women’s groups gearing up for the national event scheduled for August this year.

The event was officially launched in January this year by the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni.

The Noco Women’s Group in Rewa along with Lovu hart Home Women’s Club in Lautoka are a few of the many women’s groups that are excited to participate in the women’s expo. The 2014 National Women’s Expo and Designer Awards will be held at Vodafone Arena from 6th to 8th of August 2014.

The Lovu Hart Women’s Club in Lautoka has already started to put together products that they will be selling at the Expo. Mrs Paulina Aditagilala, president of this group said that their major product would be handicrafts and ladies wear.

“This is the first time for us to be given an opportunity like this and we are looking forward for the expo. We have started to make items like mats, fans, baskets, soya sauce, home-made dish washing paste, sulus, bedspread with pillow cases. These items will be sold at prices ranging from $15 to $20.

“Some of the items are made using the two sewing machines that was donated by the Department of Women and we will also participate in the Rural Designer Awards Night. We hope to earn some cash by selling our products and the expo is a great platform to learn new skills and ideas from the other women’s group who will be coming to the event,” Mrs Aditagilala said.

Mrs Kereni Wati Tukuna, president of the Nacuru Women’s Centre in the district of Noco, Rewa said that they have a permanent place to coordinate their plans for the women’s expo.

“We are looking forward for the expo, in fact we have made products that we would like to sell at the event, things like embroidery bags, pencil cases, ladies handbags, mobile carry cases, table cloth, apron and kitchenware products. We are already making profit by selling these products and the expo will give us an open market to sell our products.

“And we are lucky to have a women’s centre in Noco village which has been funded by the Department of Women in 2013. The centre has provided us with a place all to ourselves, we now have the freedom to do our daily women’s activities from this centre. It is a great source of strength and incentive for women to work together a group, to use their time wisely into making products to make money.

Minister Luveni said that the National Women’s Expo and Rural Women’s Designer Awards 2014 will be the biggest celebrations for all the women in Fiji.

“The event will provide women with a unforgettable experience to be celebrated at Vodafone Arena. The Ministry’s divisional officers are already working with the various women’s groups around Fiji to fine-tune the handiwork to sell on a mass scale at the women’s Expo. We are expecting around 3000 women all over Fiji to participate in this national event and rural designer awards will also be a significant event- at the expo,” Minister Luveni said.