Behind each bag is a woman with a story to tell. 

Nancy Aole is a 50 year old single mother of two and has two grandchildren. She resides in Faniufa Village and has been taking care of her children after her husband left her. Nancy has found it difficult to secure a job having only completed school until Year 10. In light of this, she focuses her time and energy towards subsistence farming and weaving bilums, both of which she is highly skilled. Through her bilum income she is able to pay for her rent, project fees for her younger son and grandson, food, bedding, clothing and customary obligations such as contributing towards funeral ceremonies and brideprice. Her vision is to build a house big enough to accommodate her family, as well as fencing materials for her garden. 

Lucy Reuben is 30 years old, married with three children. She is from Mane Village in Okapa Station and now resides in Faniufa Village. When life presented an array of challenges, Lucy decided to harness her bilum technique and weave and sell as her livelihood. Initially she found selling her wares at the main Goroka Bilum Market to be complicated and competitive. She is now able to weave and sell to Among Equals from her home as her main income source. Her earnings enable her to sustain and support her family with basic necessities, as well as contributing towards her children’s education. 

Okofe Steven is married with six children and two grandchildren. She is from Amu’e village, Okapa and now resides at the Blue Corner Farm, Faniufa Village. During Okofe’s childhood, there was no school in her village due to its remote location and lack of teachers. To support her family Okofe tends her small garden, sorts coffee beans by hand and weaves bilum for purchase by Among Equals. Her vision is to educate all of her children, an opportunity she missed out on and to be able to build her own house and stop renting. She recently purchased a substantial quantity of roofing iron that will go towards the structure of her new home. 

Enta Jack, 20 years old, originates from Yagana Village in Okapa and now resides in Faniufa Village. Enta was unable to pursue her education after grade 10 due to struggling academically. To support herself she is focusing on her strengths and dedicating her time to weaving and selling bilum. Sales have enabled her to finance a small shop out of her house. Her goal is to save enough to return to school and one day become a primary school teacher. 

Pauline Ariva is 43 years old and married with five children. She comes from the NangaNanga Village in Raubaul, East New Britain Area (ENBA) and now resides in Blue Corner Farm, Faniufa Village. Pauline recently joined the Goroka Bilum Weavers after her husband left his job at Unicef and moved to Goroka. Being from the ENBA with no bilum background except weaving baskets, she was taught to weave bilums by her in-laws who herald from Paigatasa village in Fore, Okapa. Pauline has been able to weave bilum to sell commercially and is the main income earner in her household. Her vision is to ensure her children have access to a good education.

Julie Thomas is 31 years old and married with 2 children. She comes from Yagana Village, Okapa and now resides in the Blue Corner Farm, Faniufa Village. Julie could not complete her education because her family could not afford the school fees. She was married at a young age. With no formal education to access a job, she created a small garden to sustain her family whilst waiting for her husband’s payday. Weaving bilum is now a full time job and enables her to provide for her family’s necessities and educate her son and daughter. Her dream is to be able to continue to pay school fees and educate her children, especially her daughter. She also hopes to build a little piggery to sell and look after pigs. 

Pongo Raymond

Saiyope Kufia

Jenny Kido

Lean Tivi

Naelle Miki