Vaikoloa Vea lives on the westside of Tongatapu in a village known as Te’ekiu. She has six children and ten grandchildren. They are, of course, her pride and joy. She had dreams of enlarging her house to host her big family, but tragedy struck. In 2007, her husband passed away.
A New Beginning
She joined SPBD in 2010 with plans to start a specialized weaving business. You see, she only wanted to weave beautiful ta’ovala. For those who don’t know, the Ta’ovala is special clothing in Tongan culture. It is a mat wrapped around the waist—worn by both men and women—at all formal occasions. To Tongan’s, the ta’ovala is like putting on a tie or a big fancy hat in western culture. But, here’s where her business plan was unique. She wanted to send them to customers overseas, to give Tongans who had moved, people of Tongan heritage, and others who wanted to wear the special garb a chance to do so.
And, this plan was successful. Her overseas customers provided steady income and growth. So she decided to expand. She added tapa making to her product list, and she sells it at the local market. (Again, for those not familiar with tapa, it is barkcloth with gorgeous patterns.).
Vaikoloa has learned a lot from this experience. She knows now that financial planning and education is critical for women. “Before, I didn’t know anything about business. SPBD’s training helped me to understand.”
I couldn’t have done this without SPBD’s loans. But it’s more than that. It’s the financial education, it’s how they taught me to save for future surprises and goals.
With her newfound business acumen and a thriving business, Vaikoloa paid back business loans and took out new loans to finally expand and renovate her home for her big family—especially those ten grandbabies.
“I couldn’t have done this without SPBD’s loans. But it’s more than that. It’s the financial education, it’s how they taught me to save for future surprises and goals.”