Every day should be treated as a day to eliminate violence against women in order to uphold women and children’s rights in order for gender equality to be meaningful.
Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar, while officiating at the Oceania Water Group Limited sponsored secondary and primary school oratory contest in Lautoka yesterday, said this competition was a great medium to raise awareness regarding gender issues and including children in this advocacy so that their mindset was guided towards the right direction from a very early age.
Oceania Water Group general manager Fiji Abdul Kadar, while confirming their support for next year, said the company would begin supporting three primary and three high school students by way of sponsorship for their school expenses next year.
Meanwhile, Mrs Akbar paid tribute to Soroptimist International Lautoka which has made a tremendous contribution in reaching out and helping underprivileged persons in Fiji by organising the event.
Up until 2017, the oratory contest was for primary schools but was now open to secondary schools under three categories – Rural Primary, Urban Primary and High Schools.
Shabrina Aziz of Lovu Sangam School won the Rural Primary School category, Ulamila McGoon of Lautoka Ahmadiya Primary School took the urban primary school category, while Neha Anjili Prasad of Vishnu Deo College scooped the secondary school category.
The event was focused on including male students in their advocacy programmes. This year, out of the 38 participating orators, 10 were male orators.
“The platform provided, also enhances the public speaking skills and development of our future leaders,” Ms Akbar said.
“Through these celebrations we can encourage our nation to recommit ourselves to upholding women’s rights to safety, justice, and equal access to economic opportunities.
“It is also a time to rally for more recognition of the role of women in society, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in their communities and in our nation as a whole.”
The minister said Fijian women and girls, who make up 50 per cent of the population, contributed significantly to the progress at the home front, within the communities and at both the national and international levels.
“Women’s health is very important as they are the ones looking after their families and with the escalating levels of Non-Communicable Diseases, we need to be vigilant and look after our health because without good health we will not be able to fulfill our roles to the best of our abilities,” Ms Akbar said.