Life is financially and all round tough for single mums and unemployed women in rural Fiji. They are looked down upon and often feel ashamed and isolated. This project will build their skills and help them be independent and confident. We will do this with farming, health promotion and other business ideas. And I’ll make this project a model for women in other island communities to do the same.
I live in a small settlement in South Taveuni, Fiji. I know how hard it is being a single mum in a rural community and trying to support my child. So I decided to take a stand and become more resilient and independent. I am paying off my own land, established my farm and building a house. I got there by myself – I feel strong and proud. I use what I have learned to help other women achieve their potential. Go to the videos below and see what’s happening.
If you would like to donate a small amount that is appreciated an financials looked after by a registered Australian charity, so it is the real deal. Donations cover some of our costs, a small monthly contribution to each woman until we are profitable and a small wage for me.
Using my land the women are growing vegetables for their families and for sale. They are learning new skills, have healthier food for their children, gain income and feel really good about themselves. We have also leased extra land and planting 500 dalo (taro) per month, dalo is Fiji’s main commercial vegetable crop.
Did you know Fiji ranks 2nd in the world for breast cancer, 2nd for diabetes, 15th for uterine cancer, 19th for heart disease? We are trying our best to change that in our community. We visit families and gatherings in our area, show them a video on each topic and give them pamphlets and encourage them to set goals for better health. We are not a health professionals, but an Australian health company who supplies the videos, materials and coaches us (at no cost). That also builds our confidence.
We now run a regular PAP test program by getting doctor to visit the communities. We supply food and refreshments to make a day of it – many of the women have never had one before. Because we find many women not been tested and we have two positive tests so far we are going to focus on growing this program. The doctor at the hospital asked us to also do materials on sexual health. So on the PAP test days in the various communities we will give out pamphlets on that as well as cancer self checking and show the videos on those things.
An Australian first aid teacher visited to accredit us in first aid. Yeah! We all passed the exam. Vinaka Pete for supporting us. We will introduce general first aid to the community and give out donated first aid kits.
In 2018 we will be running breast feeding and sexual health programs on behalf of the hospital – it’s two hours away. The hospital was impressed with us arranging the PAP test program, so asked us to promote these two new topics. We were so proud to be asked by the hospital to do this – a year a go we may have been looked down on by some people. Now we are strong leaders in our community. Wow, that is really is something.
We meet weekly to plan our activities. We put in $2 each so we can try other business ideas as well as the farm. The first is a volleyball competition for the region. We charge each team to play and we sell fish parcels, drinks and roti. We have now cleared some land for the playing area and first competition was 25 March.
Only three teams turned up – but that is a start and lots of people came to watch – we were happy – and the word is out. After our costs and the prize, each of the girls made $13.50 and AP (single dad) did the spear fishing and made half the market price for the fish. That may not sound much, but some days where we work at the resort we might only get that in a day. And the big thing is we have started. We will run the comp monthly (maybe more often) – let’s go.
Its Time Foundation in Australia accepts donations on our behalf. They make sure the finance is correctly looked after and all spending is accounted for. They also mentor us about the money side of the project so we get it right and we learn. Every dollar is appreciated and spent very carefully.
Here are some videos of what's happening