“I lost my husband many years ago and I felt bad having to depend on relatives to assist me and my children, they also have a lot of their own problems to deal with.”
Let us meet Rose Sasali, who comes from Small Malaita, Malaita Province. She started her business when she became a member of SIWBA (Solomon Islands Women in Business Association).
Mrs. Sasali lost her husband many years ago, and without any financial help, she began to attend workshops and trainings organized through SIWBA.
“So, I went to all the trainings on offer because it was free for members, I learnt how to dye cloths such as lava lava print, print t-shirt to sewing dresses, to hand made necklaces, ear rings, false flowers made of plastic foam, and bangles.
“I started by selling to friends and family, they became popular, so I built the courage to go out to the market as a vendor, the sales really encouraged me.”
Mrs. Sasali said that she used to be shy selling to tourists but “they have been very supportive, always curious to know more about my craft and myself.”
Mrs. Sasali started building her own network of suppliers, sourcing from trusted individuals, and from the provinces where some of the raw materials such as shells were a lot cheaper.
“I had to really teach myself everything, because it is more than just being able to make handicraft, I had to also understand the business side of it.
“You have to smile even though things are hard, you have to build good relations with people you depend on for supply of what you need, that is all very important.”
Mrs. Sasali says that while her initial motivation was to support her children and grandchildren she now sees it as a business, “so I try to teach myself the business side of things everyday…it has been fun and very rewarding.”
This kind of story is similar throughout Honiara and out in the Provinces, where ordinary people would find ways to generate money by using skills that they have or skills they acquired through workshops.