Talamahu, Tonga

During a financial literacy training in Tonga last September, a group of clients completed a visioning exercise.  For Melesisi, this was an incredibly powerful and emotional activity.  In thinking about her hopes and goals, her vision for a better future is linked to an education for each of her four children – three of whom are in primary school and one who is 3-years old.  Melesisi and her husband believe that with a good education, her children will not face the same struggles they face.

Melesisi is a farmer, and a client of SPBD Tonga.  In September 2012, she received her third loan of TOP2,000 (US$1,130) to invest in her farming business.  She and her husband work the farm, and it is their only livelihood.  They grow various vegetables, including taro, kumala and cassava, which they sell in the Talamahu Market and also deliver to other sellers.

Melesisi’s family may live in a small house, but she doesn’t worry about the house.  She and her husband worry about their children.  They sacrifice in various ways – e.g., they do not eat meat – so that they can save and invest in their children’s education.  Although there is no text on her drawing, it is clear what her priorities are:  her four children.  Melesisi and her husband also dream of owning their own vehicle to transport their produce to market and reduce transportation expenses, which can consume 10-50% of their monthly earnings.