YWCA of Fiji elects new National Council
A new National Council of the YWCA of Fiji was elected at a Special General Meeting held at the YWCA Building in Suva on July 26, 2008.
The election results are as follows:
National President: Leba Halofaki Mataitini
National Vice President: Lavenia Padarath
National Treasurer: Rosie Langi
Members: Monica Raghwan, Susana Tuisawau, Mavis Tonganivalu-Clerk, Mafi Baseisei, Taoba Ratu, Elenoa Lagilagi, Viva Dakua and Akisi Bolabola.
Area Council Representatives: Suliana Siwatibau and Taugo Vulaono-Nacanaitaba (Suva), Stella Smith and Keresi Gade (Lautoka), Dora Tagi and Leba Rabukawaqa (Bua), Kelera Vauvau and Semaema Mausa (Nadarivatu)
The staging of the special general meeting was a concerted effort by a committed group of members working hard to address and improve the operations of one of Fiji’s longest serving women’s human rights based organisations.
“My vision for the next two years is to revive the Area Councils of the YWCA and to get the women and young girls involved in programmes and projects of relevance to their particular areas and groupings. The second major work is to focus on the recommended amendments to the YWCA Constitution and to take it through the due processes of consultation as well as the organization restructure and review carried out since 2001” said newly elected President Leba Halofaki Mataitini.
Mataitini also will be working with the national leadership team to arrange the Biennial General Meeting by June 2010. Regularising the management of the YWCA of Fiji , the interest of the Association and its members is the top priority of the new council’s service in the next two years, she added.
The YWCA was established in Fiji in the late 1960s, when it introduced a series of programmes and activities to achieve empowerment and justice for women, young women and girls. The history of the YWCA dates back to the colonial era, at a time when the only real national women's organisations that existed were the Soqosoqo Vakamarama, Church Women's organisations, and the Pan Pacific South East Asia Women's Association (PPSEAWA).
In 1961 a provisional committee was formed to work towards the establishment of the Fiji Young Women's Christian Association. The membership of this committee included Lady Eleanor Maddocks, Nancy Thomson, Dr Esther Williams, Susan Parkinson, Charlotte Chetty, Denise Hussain, Salote Sikivou Tulia Koroi, as well as Margaret Stewart. The foundation members of the YWCA recruited two young women from Melbourne, Australia as the first staff members; Anne Walker and Ruth Lechte.