Back in history | Wood carving school for youths

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Smiling faces from the trainees who received their certifi cates from Adi Lady Davila Ganilau. With them is their instructor. Picture: FT FILE

On July 2, 1975, The Fiji Times published an article highlighting how the YMCA and Suva Youth Centre established a wood carving school aimed at providing employment opportunities for youths.

Nine individuals finished the first ten weeks of the course offered by the school, according to the article. Makiti Koto, the instructor at the school, said it was the first of its kind.

He also managed its overall operation.

The article said Adi Lady Davila Ganilau awarded the first certificates to the nine individuals, saying the formation of the school was a breakthrough in Fijian custom and tradition.

She said the art of wood carving was traditionally handed down through certain families in the community and it was difficult for other families to adopt the art.

While she was first convinced that the establishment of the school would be unsuccessful, she changed her mind when she saw the wood carving pieces done by the young artists.

The general secretary of the centre, Dennis Oliver, said because carving was a home industry, it should prove particularly rewarding, both financially and otherwise, to unemployed youths.

He added the school had shown the need for this type of vocational training.