Women entrepreneurs are helping to restore island nation’s economy after the ravages of Cyclone Pam
Originally published in International Trade Forum
The island nation of Vanuatu is surrounded by bright blue ocean, so it should come as no surprise that tourism makes a hefty contribution to the country’s economy. That model was disrupted in March 2015 when Cyclone Pam struck, devastating the country and its tourism-dependent income. Its recovery from that natural disaster has been assisted in no small part by the hands of women whose livelihoods depend on tourism dollars.
Rosalie Vatu is a so-called ‘market mama’, an arts and crafts trader who sells assorted items ranging from t-shirts and baskets to carvings and colourful dresses. Her day starts at 4 a.m. making coconut crème rolls for a shop down the road. She is also the founder of Bulvanua Arts and Handicrafts, a cooperative of more than 30 women who sell and promote products made in Vanuatu.