Meet Julie Ben Korini, who is one amongst many mothers who are self-employed.
For many years she was able to find ways to support her small family by finding means to earn an income through sales of cooked foods and selling of second-hand clothes.
While day to day living has become very challenging, she is always open to new ideas and being creativity in finding ways to search for income as means to survive.
“Being a mother is not easy because we have to do everything to satisfy our family needs. If husband is working and supportive towards her wife, things can work out easily,” she said.
Mrs Korini said parents must work together equally because if the support and struggle only comes from one side either the mother or father, then its not good to hold the family’s bonding stronger.
“Working and helping together can overcome any obstacles and difficulties in life as to pave way for the children to grow in a conducive home and environment,” she added.
The mother of three children hails from Marovo Lagoon in Rukutu, in her 40s she is married to a Vella La Vella man.
Mrs Korini husband is a carpenter and a private contractor. He only gets paid whenever he is being hired by people to build.
But when there’s no work he helps out at home and supports his loving and hardworking wife.
Her husband started his employment in 1993 with the Boronia Meat Service in Honiara.
Mrs Korini completed her education at the primary level and attended small training and short course offered through the University of the South Pacific (USP).
There she studied business management.
She also attended similar trainings in Gizo.
The knowledge she gained at USP enabled her to secure a job with Boronia Meat Service at the butcher and snack bar section.
But when the ethnic tension happened in early 2000, she fled with her family to Gizo and started working at the Boronia Branch in Gizo, Western Province.
After working there for several years, she quit her job with Boronia Meat Service and joined the RTC (Rendova Trading Company) Retail Shop as a shop supervisor in Gizo.
Through her experience, she learnt lot of skills and most importantly earn money to feed her family that is what really matters to her, she said.
In 2012 Mrs Korini left her job and life was never the same again because of the challenge to get an income.
Seeking job opportunities was also very challenging, she recalled.
“Only lucky ones will have the opportunities to secure job.”
For years she was looking for opportunities to support her family.
It was challenging task to find ways to support her family.
But she never gave up and continued to pray and allow God to direct her pathway.
In 2015 Mrs Korini decided to engage in cooking and sold cooked food at the Women’s Kakai House commonly called ‘Bridget’s Nichole’s Kitchen’ as one of the registered members.
At this kitchen few women usually share their days throughout the week to cook and sell their foods with cold lemon drinks.
Bridget’s Nichole’s Kitchen is located in the heart of Gizo Town and most of the people in Gizo regularly visit this place.
It is one of the popular and oldest buildings that is being used by women to sell their cooked food.
She said for years she cooks and sells food at the Bridget’s Kitchen.
“We see good money at cooking, at least we prepare a big and good food, our takings for one day can hit around $400 plus.
“If we prepare our food better we can hit the amount around $600 dollars and above,’’ she said.
She added the money she usually earns helps to support her children with their school fee and other basic needs for family and personal wants.
She admitted that the demands of the children is always expensive like school items, uniform and other personal items.
“However, I have no option but to meet the expenses even though it is hard to find money.
“At least my sisters and my relatives are always on my side to support me with financial assistance when I urgently need help,” she said.
She added it is very challenging being a mother because you have to be prepared to provide for your children whenever they want things.
“Pocket money for our children is also one of the challenging things to bear.
“Although it is very challenging, I will have to find ways to get money for my children at least a cent or dollar is counted,” she added.
With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the country and the declaration of the Public State of Emergency (PSO), certain restrictions of activities has affected many people and businesses.
Likewise, women who do regular cooking at the Bridget’s Nchole Kitchen were also affected by impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cooking of food sales has been slow since then because of difficulties many people face, she added.
“Sales of cooked foods has been slow with many leftover foods. As a result our income did not cover our expense. So its a lose with smaller profit at the end of the day,” said Julie.
Because sales of cooked food has been slow, she switched to selling second-hand clothes and crafts besides the Nichole Bridget Kitchen.
She started off selling dresses, t-shirts and boys trousers.
She ordered clothes from Honiara.
After her first order, she earned good number. She then got her new tent and pitched it up to sell her clothes.
She said it is good to see sell clothes than food because income is much better.
At the moment the sales of her clothes runs well and she hopes to expand and sell more clothes and other products.
She added one of the things that keep her going is through pray and God’s leading.
“I thank God the Almighty for assistance, guidance and strength every day,” she said.
She said its also important to put God first before anything comes after.
Apart from spending time to do her private job, she is also committed in her faith by attending church activities.
She encourages other women out there whether employed or unemployed who might go through challenges and hardships to always keep praying and do well to others.
‘’If we practice those simple human virtues, more blessings will come into our lives,’’ she said.
Mrs Korini’s first born son is now working, her second daughter is currently studying at the Solomon Island National University (SINU) and his last born son is attending Betikama Adventist College (BAC) in Honiara.
“With my small story, I would like to say happy mothers day to all mothers out there celebrating the event this weekend,” she concluded.
By ULUTAH GINA
GIZO NEWS BUREAU