Bir Follows In Father’s Footsteps

He sells wooden crafts and shell jewelleries, either made by him or bought from villagers.
21 Apr 2022 11:07
Bir Follows In Father’s Footsteps
Bir Vijay Anand at Shop 12 Handicraft Centre in Suva on April 19, 2022. Photo: Nolishma Narayan

As a child, Bir Vijay Anand used to watch his father make handicrafts.

Later on he was inspired to do the same.

Mr Anand, 37, of Newtown, Suva has been at the Suva Handicraft Centre for the past 20 years.

“My father started this stall in 1992 and I used to help him during school holidays. In 2001 I joined him permanently,” he said.

His father taught him to make shell jewellery and through his colleagues in the handicraft center, he learned to do woodwork as well.

“When I was old enough, my father taught me to do shell polishing, and then I started to come to the center and used to see new things,” he said.

Mr Anand said his sales had been drastically affected since the bushfire in Australia and when it had started to pick up, COVID-19 impacted his business.

“Business used to be good since we used to get tourists, but due to COVID-19 it kept going down,” he said.

“Although the borders are open, the movements are not the same.”

He sells wooden crafts and shell jewelleries, either made by him or bought from villagers.

“The villagers come to market every Saturday to do wholesale; we just inform them what all we need, then they get the products prepared the whole week, and get it on the following Saturday,” he said.

“The stuff we buy from the villagers, we do the finishing ourselves, such as turtles, tanoa and wooden masks.



“Nowadays, we have to think before every step,” Mr Anand said about his business.

“When there were COVID-19 restrictions, I used to stay home and used up all my funds and savings.”

To survive somehow he ended up doing barter trade (online page) to sell his products.

“It helped, but little or no profit,” he said.

Mr Anand encouraged youths to get involved in the handicraft business to earn money and also preserve the knowledge of handicrafts.



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