Wainimakutu women continues papermaking business 23 years on

Apikali Meki at the drying shed at Wainimakutu in Namosi. Picture: JAKE CABANIUK

WITH no electricity, the women of Wainimakutu Village in the province of Namosi have found the strength to continue making paper – a business project that had started in the village 23 years ago.

The second last village in the remote region of Namosi is where the Wainimakutu Women’s Papermaking Project is situated and they are considered to be Fiji’s local papermakers.

The 110 women divide themselves up into 11 groups and each group have 10 women that work three days a week producing paper.

Wainimakutu Women’s Papermaking Project member Apikali Meki said they produced a maximum of 2500 sheets of paper for Pure Fiji every week.

“We work on the production side of things from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and on Thursday, we deliver the sheets of paper to Pure Fiji,” Mrs Meki said.

Each sheet of paper is sold at $1.30 and each week, the 10 women take $3250 back to the village.

“From this amount, a certain percentage goes towards the church, village and to the project while the balance is shared equally among the 10 women who are part of the production team that week,” she said.

“So in a week, our take home pay comes to about $170 which is enough to sustain our individual families.”

Project manager Josua Koroi said despite relying on rootcrops like dalo, yaqona and vegetables like cucumber and cabbages that take months to grow, the women have been a driving force in sustaining the families from what they earn from producing paper.

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