LEAVING her island home behind to look for ways to support her children's education was something Atileta Didau did 20 years ago.
While most people chose to work in restaurants, government departments and corporate agencies, the mother of five opted to sell food parcels and pastries at the Labasa Food Stall.
Earning about $200 a week, Mrs Didau's love for education has resulted in three of her children moving on with their lives in New Zealand.
"I left Cikobia Island because I wanted to provide the best education for my children and since then I have been struggling to give them whatever they needed," Mrs Didau said.
"My children all completed their studies here in Labasa and their school fees and stationery were paid for with the money I received from selling.
"I never quit because I knew my children were going to reap what I initially sowed and indeed, they all benefited from it."
Unfortunately, for Mrs Didau, her eldest daughter passed away some years back. But it did not deter her from offering motherly care and support for her other children.
"One of my sons works and lives in New Zealand and at the same time is pursuing his studies at Otago University.
"The other two are professional rugby players and travel to New Zealand on a regular basis because of the sport."
Mrs Didau said her other daughter had also found a better life in Suva with her new family.
"Being a vendor might be a job unnoticed by many people but whatever we earn from here is able to send our children and family members to places that other well-employed people have never visited.
"We depend on what we sell here for income and it's amazing how our earnings can turn into blessings, taking our children's education to new heights and making them end up in places that we never dreamt of."
Mrs Didau said her struggles had paid off because her children had worked and supported her financially. She also thanked her husband, Atunaisa Maiono, for his undying support.
Her colleague, Diwaqa Lakolako, is also reaping the fruit of her labour, thanks to the income she receives, her seven children have secured good jobs.
Selling for more than three decades now, Mrs Lakolako said she never regretted venturing into such a field because it was able to cater for their household needs and foremost, her children's education.
Mrs Lakolako, who is also famous for catering at special functions with her delicious and savoury meals and refreshments around Labasa, said her only wish was to fulfil her duty as a mother and wife.
"My biggest faith is not only in church but also fulfilling my responsibility as a mother to my children and being a dedicated wife to my husband," she said.
"I am hired to cater for special government functions, weddings, birthdays and other occasions and the money I receive is usually a substantial amount.
"Now that all my children are working, I don't ask them for money because I want them to utilise their money well.
"The struggle and hard work I once endured is finally paying off because six of my children are civil servants and the other one works at our church headquarters in Suva."