Selling Seafood
Ma’ufanga, Tonga

Determination Decides your Destination

Loloa’ivaha, a 39-year-old mother of five children, believes that determination and persistence are the key drivers of success. In 2006, Loloa’ivaha and her husband started a family business selling her husband’s daily catch of fish. Unfortunately, a few years later Loloa’ivaha’s husband became ill and was unable to continue running the business. The family experienced financial hardship, as they were unable to meet everyday expenses such as food, clothes, and the children’s educational needs: “Every year we hardly managed to afford to buy all their school books on time.”

Even after her husband recovered, he was still facing ongoing risks of health and was unable to go fishing again. As a result, Loloa’ivaha resorted to purchasing fish from other fishermen and selling it at the local fish market. This was very costly and Loloa’ivaha felt the increasing weight of all these unsolved burdens.

In 2009, she decided to apply for a loan through the SPBD Loan Program in hopes that it would provide the much-needed financial support for their business. Loloa’ivaha explains that the loan had a great impact on both their family and business, as they managed to continue selling fish and that their business flourished. Her family now had enough money to purchase school books for the children on time, and they were also able to purchase a daily lunch. “I feel secure now knowing there’s an excess profit to cover things that I never thought were possible to pay on time,” explains Loloa’ivaha.

Six years have passed and Loloa’ivaha now has three vehicles for her business. Prior to this, she had to hire a taxi for transportation, another cost which had financially burdened her family and business. “It enables me to widen my capabilities and take the lead role that my husband used to have.” explains Loloa’ivaha.

Loloa’ivaha’s determination has ensured that her two oldest children complete their education. Two  of her sons have already graduated from vocational college. Loloaivaha is very thrilled with the positive outcomes that have resulted from the success of the business, and her husband is very proud that she is able to contribute to the financial stability of the family.