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September 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Fiji's first solar engineers were today officially welcomed and congratulated by Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

The ten elderly Fijian women successfully graduated from Barefoot College in Rajasthan, India after going through six months training.

Their trip and training was made possible through a partnership between the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, UN Women, the Indian High Commission in Fiji and the College.

 Barefoot College in Tilonia recruits women from around the world to attend the college campus in India for six months to learn skills in solar engineering.

The Prime Minister while welcoming the grandmothers said today’s ceremony was organized to recognize their achievement as being the agents of change for this nation.

“With the given skills you are an asset for this nation as you will impart that knowledge to solar electrify and light up the villages that have been without electricity.”

FijiLive spoke to 48- year- old Vulori Susu who said the program empowered them and gave them the faith to belief in themselves.

“The program was very good for us women as it empowered us and gave us the faith to believe in ourselves. It also opened our mindset about women and showed us that we women are not only meant for the kitchen but can also be equally good in other fields.”

"We are waiting for the required materials to arrive from India so we can put rhem together for our villages and promote solar energy which is deemed as a sustainable source of energy."

“We really enjoyed ourselves in India for 6 months and definitely missed our families but the people of India were so good to us that it felt like home even though we were vegetarian for 6 months,” Susu said.

Meanwhile, permanent secretary of Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Govind Sami said that Barefoot College, the Indian Government and the Fijian Government will soon be signing a MOU so that they could further empower women and girls in Fiji in their respective field.

“We want women to be educated in Fiji in fields such as solar electrification, medicine, commerce or whatever they wish to do to for the betterment of our communities,” Sami said.

By Indrani Krishna

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