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Beautiful Fiji masks poverty for single mums

Beautiful Fiji masks poverty for single mums

Christian aid organisation International Needs (NZ) is partnering with the New Zealand Aid Programme to work with struggling single Fijian mums by helping them start their own business.

Gradon Harvey, International Needs (NZ) executive director, says being a single mum in Fiji can lead to social exclusion and a daily battle with poverty.

“It is hard enough being a single parent even when extended family support is there, let alone being ostracised by the community because single parenting has social stigma.  This makes a lot of young Fijian mums vulnerable to poverty.  But we recognise we can be part of the solution,” says Mr Harvey.

As part of that answer, International Needs (NZ) has developed a community project initiative that will see 45 single mums trained and supported to start their own business.

“These young mums receive training in cooking, sewing, housekeeping as well as jewellery making, screen printing and weaving.  At the same time they are given financial training in book keeping and budgeting as well as the principles of running a small business. They also learn life skills and personal development.

“Each course runs for three months.  Upon completion these young mums are given a start-up grant and access to a business mentor to help them grow their own business,” says Mr Harvey.

This development initiative is running over three years.  The New Zealand Aid Programme has agreed to provide funding for this activity, with International Needs (NZ) required to contribute $1 for every $4 funded.

Mr Harvey says International Needs (NZ) need to raise $80,000 with almost a quarter raised to date.

“It is great to have the New Zealand Aid Programme support as every dollar donated can attract four more – that is a great return on a donation.  Kiwis are very generous towards our South Pacific neighbours.”

ENDS

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