Pelenaise's Story: Small Steps. Big Dreams.
Occupation: Canteen Owner
Pelenaise Folau was living in a tent in 2011. But, that did not stop her from dreaming of better opportunities for herself and her five children. Dreaming led to action. She joined SPBD Tonga that same year.
Big Dreams Require Big Change
Pelenaise moved to Tonga's main island of Tongatapu to educate her children and begin that search for a better life.
With her first SPBD loan of $580 USD, she started a weaving and sewing business. She was a woman with a plan. Even before her first loan, she knew that she would use her second loan to start building a house for her family. It was a top priority. Even though the loan wouldn’t be enough to build the entire house, that was ok with her. She knew it was important to start somewhere.
With the same determination of a Fortune 500 CEO, Pelenaise never took her eye off the prize. She used that second loan to purchase bricks and cement for the foundation of her house. Over time, she was able to use profits from her businesses and some of her subsequent SPBD loans to continue building her dream house. She also used one of her loans to buy an old car that she converted into a taxi. This helped her repay loans more quickly and apply for new, larger loans. Her most recent loan—along with the profits from her businesses—was the cherry on top. It allowed her to complete her dream house.
Along her journey, she learned a few things. She decided to change from a weaving and sewing business to a canteen. “My relatives and friends had their sewing unpaid. So I picked a more profitable, steady business.” Through profitability and budgeting, she bought TWO MORE cars. However, those aren’t for the business. Her children now have a reliable way to travel to and from school and work—four are employed, and one is still in high school.
SPBD encouraged, supported, and trained me to strive for my goals. My dreams came true because of SPBD.
Paying it Forward: Creating The Next Generation of Women Entrepreneurs
Pelenaise’s two daughters are also learning how to be entrepreneurs. They work with their mom and now have ambitions of their own. They want to produce traditional wedding and funeral decorations.
When asked how SPBD has impacted her life, Pelenaise shares, “SPBD encouraged, supported, and trained me to strive for my goals. My dreams came true because of SPBD.”
Pelenaise is also the Secretary of her SPBD Center. She actively recruits members and encourages them to run their businesses, teaches them to never give up no matter what others may say, and shows them how to budget wisely by completing their financial diaries. These principles helped her dreams come true, and she believes other women can succeed as she has.