NEWS

Canteen Owner Defies Odds to Educate Children

As a young girl, Matelita Lewacoke, while working long hours at a resort, made the pledge to fiercely pursue education for her children. The mother-of-five overcame hardships every day to
28 Jan 2018 10:25
Canteen Owner Defies Odds to Educate Children
Matelia Lewacoke with grandson Temo Cristopher inside the newly-built canteen in Sadro Village, Deuba, on January 27, 2018. Photo: Sheldon Chanel

As a young girl, Matelita Lewacoke, while working long hours at a resort, made the pledge to fiercely pursue education for her children.

The mother-of-five overcame hardships every day to make a living – hardships she believed could have remedied had received a good education.

In 2013, instead of continuing work in the tourism industry, Ms Lewacoke decided to take her children’s future into her own hands.

“I bought some groceries from money I had saved while working and began selling them from my house,” the Deuba native said.

“Business was slow, and there was a lot of competition, but I managed to earn enough money to support my husband and the education of kids.”

Two years later, she became a successful applicant of the $1000 Government Micro and Small Business Grant (MSBG). The money allowed her to purchase materials to build a shop.

Attached to her house in Sadro Village, Deuba, the shop is evidence of her business’s growth.

“The shop is a source of pride for me because I started at the very bottom and was able to defy the odds and grow,” she said.

She happily funds the education of her five grandchildren, regularly pausing to remind them how important she thought it was to stay in school.

An increasing number of women in rural areas are starting businesses and taking command of their careers, rejecting traditional expectations that require them to stay at home.

Ms Lewacoke believes the trend was only natural.

“Women have the budgeting and time management skills, patience, endurance and the ability to sacrifice,” she added.

“I think these qualities are what make us better than man when running a business.”

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

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