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Fiji Times Online  Maneesha Karan Monday, August 15, 2011

ONCE restricted to household chores, the role of women on Rabi has changed dramatically over a year and this has brought about much change on the island.

About 150 Banaban women are engaged with the Banaban Women's Organisation and have collectively produced and marketed virgin coconut oil and handicraft.

The Fiji Times came across the group in Savusavu last year with their products for the first time.

Club president Terikano Takesau then relayed to this newspaper that families on Rabi refrained women from setting up business or seeking funds to foot financial needs and left the family income to the menfolk.

The deteriorating standard of living on the island left the women no choice but to take the matter onto their hands.

And their steadfastness and determination to help their community have brought success.

Ms Takesau said that gone were the days when the survival of the family depended solely on men.

"We were determined because the number of school dropouts was increasing and many people who had depended on phosphate mining lost out following closure of the mine," Ms Takesau said.

"We have been able to change the mindset of people with our talent and skills."

inue helping our community prosper in future."

Minister for Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni said during her visit to Rabi last week: "I am glad to meet the Banaban women who were highlighted by the media about their projects. "It is very encouraging to hear about such hard-working people who are making a difference in the lives of their people.

I hope other women follow their lead and come up with income-generating projects."

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