One Proud Granny
MEREDANI Batiratu has 10 grandchildren: one in Nadroga/Navosa; two in Naivicula, Tailevu; four grandchildren in Labasa, Vanua Levu, and three live with her. They are the love of her life.
In fact, they are the reason why she decided on being a market vendor, to support her grandchildren who live with her.
"I am 69 years old," Meredani said earlier this week. "Sometimes it's a bit hard but we have to make do with what we have.
The Nakalawaca, Tailevu native sells her produce, which is bought from farmers who stop by at the market. She said she started with only $100.
"I bought about a bag of cucumbers worth $25 then grouped a couple into heaps to sell for $2 each.
"I make about $15 in profit from selling all of it. The same goes for my other vegetables which include pineapples.
"I have to do what I can to help my grandchildren. One of them just got into Fulton College ( a co-educational boarding tertiary institution) which I am very proud of.
"Our family had a soli and I gave $100 earned from selling here to help towards my grandchild's preparation for studies," the grandmother said with pride.
Apart from helping her family, Meredani said marketing kept her active.
"I don't mind the work at all as it gives me something to do. If I don't do anything I might get sick," she said. "Before I used to come on Thursdays and Fridays but this year I've decided to come every day."
Meredani is one of the latest member of the South Pacific Business Development (SPBD), a network of microfinance institutions working in Fiji which aims to provide women in poor rural villages with the opportunity to start, grow and maintain sustainable income-generating micro-enterprises as well as build assets through saving.
Meredani said since joining the network, she had managed to put aside for her and her husband who is also the village headman at Nakalawaca.
"The microfinance institution also provides us with a range of training, financial services and ongoing motivation. I just started with them this year, lets see what 2017 brings to us." she added.