Weavers and designers in the north turn a profit

A newly formed business is changing the lives of many women in Vanuatu’s north, in Luganville Town and on Malo Island.

The Sanma Creative Industry Community Company is supporting associations of female weavers and designers to promote and market their products domestically and internationally.

The company’s Acting Manager, Janet Sine, says the company’s members are successfully increasing their earnings, making it easier for them to pay school fees and meet daily living costs.

“Many of these women have not undertaken higher education or even dreamt of withdrawing money from an ATM machine,” Mrs Sine said.

She said the women were getting a lot of motivation from their success.

“Many of them laugh now when they use the ATM machine for the first time to get their money,” she told VBTC.

Mrs Sine says now that the women are members in the company, they are part of the Vanuatu’s formal economy.

The company produces and sells products ranging from head wear such as hats to clothing and textiles.

In November last year alone, the company exported 150 hats to a buyer in New Zealand; and this year they’ve sold 50 hats to a buyer in Sydney, Australia.

Mrs Sine says while the company is selling well locally and nationally, due to COVID-19 restrictions, its export sales are down.

“Hopefully when everything returns to normal, our exports will increase again,” she said.

This week three members of the company will attend and participate in the upcoming Sista Fashion Show in Port Vila on 23 and 24 September. Many of its products will be showcased during the show.

Formed in 2020 the Sanma Creative Industry Community Company is made up of three associations, the Malo Bosahe Sector One Women’s Handicraft Association which has been exporting hats since 2016, the Limabulu Headwear Association and the Luganville Clothing, Fashion and Textile Association.

The company is supported by the Vanuatu Skills Partnership which is a joint venture between the Governments of Australia and Vanuatu.

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