BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
A dream has come true for the Zone 17 women’s group in Pipisu village in West Are’are, Malaita Province, as they have successfully established their own NKP Society canteen to serve the local community.
The women’s group, comprised of enthusiastic and hardworking individuals, had long nurtured this dream, and their determination finally paid off last year in 2023.
Situated in a remote coastal rural village, the women’s group aimed to start their own canteen to generate income for every member. Realizing the dire need for such a facility, the women’s group took matters into their own hands and embarked on a mission to establish their own canteen to provide retail service to their community.
Undeterred by the challenges that lay ahead, the women’s group started with collective planning and brainstorming discussions with other women’s associations in 2020. Their ultimate goals were to obtain an outboard motor (OBM) to provide transportation services, operate a petrol business, and establish a small canteen business. With this vision in mind, the group pooled their limited resources and reached out to the Member of Parliament (MP) for support.
Their efforts did not go in vain, as the MP, Honourable John Maneniaru, stepped up to contribute financially and provide vital resources. The women’s group, armed with their determination and the overwhelming support of their community, began construction on the canteen.
“Some of our members suggest applying for an outboard motor as a form of transportation. However, others argue that this may not bring in much income but rather incur expenses and losses,” the Chairperson of the Zone 17 Women’s Group,” Janet Rehotona, explained to SOLOMON WOMEN.
She continued: “After considering the options of transportation, petroleum, and canteen, the women have collectively chosen to run a society (canteen) as the most suitable choice. Initially, there was hesitation in operating a small petrol depot due to existing businesses in the community already selling petrol. However, we were determined and formed a committee of 30 women with 10 selected members to begin our work back in 2021.”
Their efforts did not go in vain, as local businesses and kind-hearted individuals stepped up to contribute financially and provide vital resources. The women’s group, armed with their determination and the overwhelming support of their community, began construction on the canteen.
The Chairperson said that in 2022, with determination, they managed to secure a skilled chainsaw operator for timber cutting and hired a carpenter to construct the canteen.
“We managed to hire SBD $1000 for the chainsaw operator to cut the timbers and SBD $4000 for the carpenter to construct the canteen structure.
“Once the canteen building was completed, we reached out to Hon. John Maneniaru, parliamentary representative for West Are’are Constituency, for assistance with supplies.
“The MP benefitted us with goods and items worth over SBD20, 000. Later this year 2024 will mark the second year of business operations since it started in March of last year 2023.
“Besides selling goods, our society (the canteen) also offers assistance to the community and its members in times of need. This can include providing items like biscuits, rice, or monetary contributions towards events such as funerals or fundraising activities for churches, youth groups, or other organizations,” she said.
With their canteen dream now a reality, these rural village women have truly become agents of change, showing that determination knows no boundaries and dreams, no matter how big or small, can transform lives.