Tonga Skills, a member of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Disability Taskforce, enthusiastically participated in the preparation and events to mark Disability Week 2017 and International Day of Disabled Persons (Sunday 3 December). On Saturday 2 December, MIA hosted a disability awareness event on the theme “Transformation towards a resilient and sustainable society for all”. The Australian Deputy High Commissioner Ms Rhona McPhee was the guest of honour who was joined by members of the Tonga Skills team.
At the MIA event, there was a showcase of handicrafts and wood, bone and pearl carvings by people with disability who had recently participated in targeted skills training, facilitated by Tonga Skills, to help increase their business productivity or employment prospects. One of the trainees who is vision impaired sold his products at the event. Skills training that leads to the commercialisation of production is one way Tonga Skills is supporting local entrepreneurs and the growth of the local private sector. Ms Sisilia Takapautolo, Skills Planning Coordinator for Tonga Skills, gave a short speech about how Tonga Skills is partnering with training providers to help them deliver skills training more flexibly and inclusively to ensure the participation of disadvantaged groups.
A commemoration service was held at the Fasi Free Wesleyan Church on Sunday 3 December and officiated by His Eminence Soane Patita Paini Cardinal Mafi. Mrs Tu’ifua Takapautolo and Ms Frances Prescott represented Tonga Skills at the service.