Mrs Jean Pichu’s vision was realised recently when the Niu Areata Women’s Weaving and Sewing project was completed with the assistance of the Australian High Commission’s Direct Assistance Program.

Recently, Second Secretary Ben O’Reilly travelled to the Weathercoast to handover the $48,000 dollar project and to better understand some of the challenges faced by those living on the Weathercoast.

“I am very happy to be here today at Areata Community to celebrate the handover of this grassroots project and also to be able to meet the community” said Mr O’Reilly during the handover ceremony.

“The Australian Government is committed to help improve the lives of Solomon Islanders.”

“We know that life in the village is hard. Women and children walk for long distances daily to collect water and to work in gardens. This Direct Aid Program looks at areas where people in grassroots communities are in need. Today, this program is handing over sewing machines and clothing material for women and this presents an opportunity for the sharing of skills and also to raise much needed income.”

Word of the Niu Areata mere’s project had spread afar. Those that attended the handover admired the project’s training centre constructed by the Niu Areata community and the sewing materials supplied by the Australian High Commission.

All who spoke during the handover expressed their gratitude to the Australian Government for its assistance and reminded those in attendance of the importance of caring for the new project.

According to Mrs Jean Pichu, the Niu Areata meres’ project was already a success. Since completion, it had taught some Weathercoast women how to sew clothes, which were later sold at market for a small profit – some moneyfor the sewer and some for the project. Orders for new clothes were now commonplace, with many children attending school in their newly made school uniforms.

For more details on how to apply for a Direct Assistance Project contact the Australian High Commission. To see some great photos of Mr O’Reilly’s trip to the Weathercoast see the Australian High Commission Facebook page, Australian in Solomon Islands.

Press Release: Australian High Commission Office, Honiara