This Monday, the Rotary Club of Suva East took its show on the road and convened in Wailoku at Homes of Hope for a special lunchtime meeting. Homes of Hope has been operating for 18 years and has assisted more than 170 young mothers who have suffered sexual abuse before or during their pregnancies. The Homes of Hope programme aims to break the cycle of violence, trafficking, and poverty for the children of these women and to help the women to develop the skills they need to provide for their families independently.
Our lunch was catered by the young mothers who call the bucolic Homes of Home campus home, while 10 women gave presentations to the group about themselves and their aspirations for the future.
Most of the women who spoke to us were in their third and final year at Homes of Hope- a year in which they devote time and resources toward a trade and are encouraged to pursue certificate training to assist them in establishing financial independence when they leave Homes of Hope.
One young woman, Tilate, is a 23 year old mother of twin daughters and has been looking after the 300 layers at the poultry farm during her 3 years at Homes of Hope. She hopes to start her own farm and would like to attend additional training on poultry and business management.
Another young woman, Sheenal is 19 years old and chose adoption for her son after his birth. She hopes to work in resort hospitality and is applying for training at Service Pro to help her to meet this goal.
Our guide through the property, Naomi, explained to us about the opportunities that are available to the women at Homes of Hope. While they stay at Homes of Hope, they can train in farming, livestock management, sewing, jewellery making, care-giving, or hospitality and all have some training in finance and budgeting before they reintegrate to their communities.
During the lunch, Suva East raised $370.00 in dues and donations which were provided to Homes of Hope, but the club members also agreed to consider the requests for certificate training assistance from the young women.
Although it was only brief foray out of Suva for most of us, Monday was nonetheless an extraordinary day for our club-a welcome change of scene for our club and a wonderful glimpse into the important work of this organisation.