Weaving, tapa-making and food processing from Tongatapu and Ha’apai villages, Tonga
Folauhola is a 42-year-old mother of three. Her husband is still overseas, and Folauhola lives with their three grown-up children. She runs a business of weaving, tapa-making and food processing. She makes tapas and weaves mats and taovala, and she sends her products to overseas markets. Her business was running very well, until the January 2022 disaster.
On January 15, the Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha’apai (HTHH) volcano erupted, triggering a number of tsunamis to hit the coastal and low-lying areas in Tongatapu and Ha’apai. Where Folauhola lives was part of the villages that were affected by the tsunamis.
“When we heard the shouting and the vehicles rushing towards town, our thinking was not straight, for we panicked. I called for my three children, and we got into the neighbor’s vehicle, and we left for town immediately, without even taking any belongings with us. The next day we returned, and water was filled in the house together with the sea waste. Dead sea organisms and different waste filled the house and also under the house. The house floor was no longer good. It felt off itself when we try to clean the house. Our vehicle that was parked outside was found along the beach. No more washing machine, no more freezer, and even stove and house furniture were found on the beach. My finished mats and tapas were also damaged and no work can be done to save them.”
“With the rehabilitation loan from SPBD, I was able to buy new furniture, new washing machine, freezer and a new stove to continue with my food processing business. It is my next plan to take another loan for a new vehicle.” The rehabilitation loan was very helpful and was provided at the right time.”