Pu Buna demonstrates key leadership values
19 August, 2019, 9:40 pm
SULUETI Koto’s success echoes through the lives of the women, where she has lived a life demonstrating key leadership values and also placing foot prints that cannot be erased.
The President of the Seniteteva Women’s group in Ogea Island, Lau who is well known by the villagers as Pu Buna, has been the engineer of the women’s group, driving them towards successful projects and initiating worthy projects involving women to assist in their families’ welfare and livelihoods.
Mrs Koto, 75, who originally from Waciwaci Village in Lakeba, and is a widow says “When you sow good seeds for the benefit of others, you will reap better seeds that are beyond our expectations.”
Pu Buna was appointed to the role of the President in 1990 and when she started in the leadership role she initiated projects like looking after the welfare of the families of the women members and the cleanliness of the village starting from the painting project.
The very first project involved women collectively working together to paint kitchens, bedrooms, houses and even community halls.
Another successful project saw the women raise funds by weaving and selling their mats to purchase paints so that they can paint the interior of the Methodist church.
In her capacity, she actively supports the women to do “Bring and Buy”.
The women always sells all sorts of products and it is always her role to spend almost $300 to purchase from these women because this is the only way they can generate income for their individual families.
Handicrafts and mats are the sources of income for the women of Ogea.
However, from the income they generate especially from selling their mats, they always purchase things that assist in the development of their village.
The proceeds from the mats they sell, they have bought beds, beddings, curtains for their homes or “valeni vakarau” for the Reverend’s residence.
Pu Buna and her family have been operating their family business on the island since 1996 and their canteen has enabled them to build their children’s house in their village, expand their canteen, purchase fibre glass boat, deep freezer, and chainsaw, fishing nets, generator, and almost 20 solar panels and also building their house in Suva.
Their family business has never failed and has in fact introduced new ideas and provided great relief to the villagers by not only focusing on selling but also providing marketing opportunities for them to purchase all their catch from the sea, mainly fish and lobsters, handicrafts and Tanoa and sell it to the available market in Suva.
Pu Buna has represented the women’s group at the Fiji National Women’s Expo since 2014 to 2019 thereby showcasing artisans selling mats, handicrafts and tanoa.
The proceeds from the expo has enabled her to purchase new door mats for the Methodist Church on the island, purchase new items for the women’s group and carpets for her home.
She acknowledged the Fijian Government for such a platform as it enables women from different parts of Fiji to share their life experiences which will benefit other women and help them apply the best practice model to boost their spiritual and socio-economic life.