No Limits For Makelesi
Women now are increasingly noticed for their success in the male-dominated business world.
They have shown the world that their significant approach to business and how they are great business leaders adds a different dimension to the way business operates.
Makelesi Tinanibolaciri left school in 2006 and was pregnant at 23. But if you think these experiences would dampen her spirits to pursue her dreams, it did just the opposite!
She has more than risen to the challenge as she has always wanted to be an entrepreneur.
At 28, the single mother now runs her own small business operating a dalo and cassava farm and with increased confidence coming from success, she is also venturing into making jewellery.
Her interest does not end here. She’s a former youth worker for the district of Deuba and still passionately participates in youth related activities within the district and the province of Serua.
‘Make’ as she is so often called, started her own business after being assisted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports through its Youth Empowerment Programme in 2015.
“I attended a Seeds of Success training facilitated by the Ministry where we learnt things like financial literacy, jewellery making,” Ms Tinanibolaciri said.
“I was also able to receive assistance of 1000 dalo suckers under the programme to kick start my farming business.”
Her first dalo harvest generated sales to the tune of $900.
“I did not achieve my estimated sale because I live in a rural setting and we had commitments in the community which I contributed to and there were also cases of theft but I wasn’t very disappointed because it was my first attempt,” she said.
She has also tried her hand at planting cassava and is waiting on her second dalo harvest, which is planted on an estimated two acres worth of land.
“I also sell vegetables which I buy from a farmer in Sigatoka, so I’m also exploring my capability of becoming a ‘middleman’,” Ms Tinanibolaciri said.
She sells from Monday to Saturday at the roadside market at Vakabalea just outside Navua. She said on a good day, she can earn about $300.
The jewellery she makes is mainly earrings and pin brooches with earrings priced at $1.50 a pair and $2.00 per brooch.
“I only make them on order and just recently I received an order to make pin brooches for the female members of our Church Youth Group to wear during their upcoming rally,” Ms Tinanibolaciri said.
Her Son, her family, her future
Ms Tinanibolaciri has a five-year-old son named Akuila Tabuavou.
She said is her source of inspiration and motivation.
“I must admit being a single mother is not easy and I know that I have to be both mother and father to my son, that drives me,” she said.
“He is attending kindergarten and will be joining primary school next year and that means more and bigger responsibilities and I know I must work harder.”
Since the recent death of her father, she is shouldering the responsibility of being the sole breadwinner.
However, with the unwavering support of her two brothers, she is making ends meet.
“The business has really helped our family in terms of meeting our needs and also helps us meet commitments towards our extended family and the village,” Ms Tinanibolaciri said.
She said she’s learning to manage her business better as she goes along. There is nothing like experience!
“Living in the village, there’s always something coming up which I will have to contribute to, or assist a relative but I’m trying to be strict on myself and the way I run my business for the long run,” Ms. Tinanibolaciri said.
The Serua woman also has big plans saying: “Because the farm is far from the village there have been cases of people stealing from the farm so my first plan is to build a farm house so we can stay at the farm on weekdays to prevent this problem.”
She has also posed a challenge to all young women out there.
“Women, we underestimate our ability sometimes. We can be anything we want to be, we can be farmers, and we can be businesspeople too. Never let anyone or any experience intimidate your dream or desire to become something in life,” Ms Tinanibolaciri said.
She thanks her brothers and mother for the successful running of her business, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Kaiming Agro Processing Limited in Navua for the supply of her dalo suckers and also her customers.
Should you think you are facing difficulties and are struggling to cope, remember one 28 year old woman on the outskirts of Navua who has big dreams, dreams closely linked to the land and her family. She is but one of many making a success of her life.
Source: Ministry for Youth and Sports