Ma’ufanga, Tonga

She believed she could: Sew she did!

With her head down in tears, Sofia Lauaki explained, “I still remember the first time I sewed my first three puletahas (traditional two-piece Tongan garments).  It took me a month to sell them.”  Sofia sold her puletahas for a good profit, however, it was not enough to cover the needs of her family. The constant financial pressure Sofia was under motivated her to increase her sales, and in 2006 she bought a stall at the local market to sell her products.

Due to the increased exposure to potential customers at the market, Sofia wanted to upgrade her designs and improve her productivity.  She joined the SPBD program in 2009 and used her first loan to purchase material and other supplies to increase her output.  With her sewing business doing well, she used subsequent loans from SPBD to add handicraft products, such as wall hangings, earrings, bookmarks, and various garments.  

Her new products excited her, and she wanted to share her accomplishments so she taught her two young boys how to paint the wall hangings and bookmarks.  “I want my children to learn what I’m doing as well. After I sell their items, the money goes into their individual accounts.”

Through SPBD, Sofia not only gained access to a financial loans but she also learnt how to save and how to develop her business through SPBD’s Financial Education Program.  The program provided her with a financial booklet, which had her lay out and see each of her financial transactions. This booklet proved very beneficial to her: “When I do my yearly taxes, my financial booklet is very useful because I use the information that I have recorded.”

The SPBD program furthered Sofia’s enthusiasm and business know-how, and she’s proved to be a very self-motivated, entrepreneurial woman.