“I used to sell ice blocks at Honiara Central Market, but I’m now making doormats instead because they make me much more money, at 80
dollars a mat.”
Maria says. Solomon Islands
In addition to selling her crafts, Maria was especially invited by Honiara City Council to take part in an intensive three-month landscape beautification course, after which she will receive a certificate in gardening and landscaping. She hopes to use this education to get a job in
formal economy. Honiara
Maria also has a longer term strategy and goal: “I have joined the savings club that we [the Mamana graduates] have started. My hope is to earn enough money to build my own house.”
Maria has been sharing her newly acquired skills and knowledge with other women in Mamana Water Community: “A lot of women have approached me about the product skills, but also about getting health information, and I’ve shared my knowledge about family planning and the IEC materials I got through Sistas Savve.”
Following the training, Maria has visited the Sippa (Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association) clinic for the first time in her life, saying that, “Before, I was frightened of Sippa, and thought that it was only a place for sick people. Now I know that you can just go for check-ups.”
Maria is feeling more confident about herself and public speaking “After Sistas Savve, I am feeling braver about speaking out. For International Women’s Day, I spoke publically for the first time in my life. I also volunteered to do the opening prayer [at the beautification course], which I would never have done before. It felt really good.” She continues, “the rest of our community has been surprised because the women have been speaking out more.
Wrapping up, Maria says that “the course has been a big change for
” and ends in Pidgin, saying with a
smile, “Now, me savve everything.” me.