Friday, 28 April 2017
Bringing Home More Than Money
Every year thousands of people from Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and other Pacific Islands, head to New Zealand as part of the RSE programme, to work, to save money to bring home to their families.
It’s hard to be away from your loved ones, but as well as the money that can be earned, there are also opportunities to come back home with new skills that can change your life.
Vakameasina is the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Worker Training programme and has already provided English language, numeracy and literacy training to hundreds of RSE workers.
The AWHI course is something new to be offered by Vakameasina. It’s a free, twenty-hour course, funded by MFAT, assisting RSE workers who plan to set up a business in their home country. Attendees learn how to create a business idea and work out how it will benefit them, their family and the community. They return home with a useful toolkit, providing a business plan, marketing plan, budget, financial records system, business cards etc - basically everything they need to turn their business idea into reality.
The course also helps the students learn how to get help and mentoring for their business when they return to their home country, and how to present their business plan. And the support doesn’t end when they get on the plane. They also receive guidance from their tutors when they are back home.
The first groups have already graduated and the skills are being put to good use. From the Samoan group, since returning home, some are developing a tourism business organising canoeing trips, and others have developed crop growing to supply the local resorts. Another participant has developed his own tourism transport business.
Graduates from the Solomon Islands group are developing a fruit juice business from fruit that would otherwise not be used. They are developing coconut oil processing in their village, and a trade and tourism business near Honiara.
While not all participants develop their idea immediately - or perhaps they switch to a new idea later - by learning the process of developing a business during the course, they have developed good transferable skills.
All participants felt more confident and wanted to pass on the new skills they had learnt to their families and friends. As one participant said: “It will help us break through.”
A win-win for the participants and for the communities!