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Among Equals is proud to have funded and built the Blue Haus in 2017, a dedicated space for the Goroka weavers, designed specifically to their needs. It is a light and airy studio that protects the women from the elements, with a water tank and sanitation unit. This peaceful studio allows the weavers to come together to socialise, rest, weave and receive training.

In 2018 Serah Nalie and her daughter Sophie lived in the Blue Haus. This is their story.

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My name is Serah Nalie, I am 42 years old and I come from Aibom, Chambri Lake on the Sepik River in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. I am married with four children and currently live in Wewak, the provincial capital of East Sepik Province. I am self-employed and I earn my living from Bilum.

Some months ago, by chance I met the famous Bilum Meri, Florence Jaukae Kamel in the Wewak market. Florence was on a buying trip for Among Equals. When Florence purchased some of my products she encouraged me to continue with my
work.When my daughter Sophie learnt that she had an opportunity to study in Goroka, I contacted Florence as she was the only person that I knew there. Florence opened her arms to me and my daughter and spoke of the Blue Haus that Among Equals had built for Bilum weavers in 2017. Florence suggested that Sophie and I stay in the Bilum Haus at Faniufa until Sophie was settled in at university.I have lived in the Blue Haus for over a month, living with Florence and her team of Bilum weavers. I have undergone training with Florence with the financial support of Caroline Sherman, the owner of Among Equals.

My dream is to build a bilum haus in Wewak and earn enough money to send my children to further their education in an overseas country. I didn’t continue with my tertiary education as my parents could not afford the fees. I want to help the mothers in Wewak to continue to make Bilum from traditional fibre so I want to start a school to make handcrafts. In the village, if I want to make Bilum, I just have to walk to the top of the mountain to collect the raw material.

The weavers in Wewak make Bilum from traditional string; we have lots of widows and mothers with children who have been abandoned by their husbands. I pray a lot and believe that God directed Florence to cross my path and now she has introduced me to Among Equals.


In June 2023, the Among Equals team travelled to the village of Goroka, in Papua New Guinea’s Eastern Highlands Province, to reunite with the weaving communities for a special Bilum market celebration.

This latest Goroka meeting marked an important opportunity to come together: there are tight deadlines to navigate but, more crucially, many of the women are living without electricity, they suffer from endemic health problems and domestic violence, and the Sepik River has recently polluted from oil spills which now come up through the ground.

Through all of this, the women remain positive, generous, the most joyful spirits. How best to tell their stories? To capture a sense of their resilience, Sherman invited Sydney based photographer Hannah Scott Stevenson, a longtime collaborator, to lens a series of illuminating portraits that speaks to the strength of the weavers.


In early 2023, we teamed with Books 4 PNG Kids, an organisation headed up by Heather Doonan which is helping to improve early reader literacy in Papua New Guinea. To support the cause, we called on our community to donate children’s books to our store, which were then distributed to schools in some of the most remote regions. We had an overwhelming response with 120 kilograms of books sent to PNG.


During our 2023 visit to Papua New Guinea, we provided the weavers with 82 pairs of shoes that were kindly donated by the Sydney based brand Jac + Jack, and we supplied hundreds of reading spectacles to assist those women with failing eyesight.


In 2023 we also installed solar panels at the Blue Haus studio and we are working towards developing additional Blue Haus spaces for other communities that we work to support.

We also hosted a community drive for unwanted jumpers and knitwear which was sent to the weavers to be used as upcycled yarns in their Bilum.