WORKING WITH THE TALENTED COMMUNITIES TO CREATE AMAZING REAL IMPACT. TRADE NOT AID
Latitude: 13°S and 21°S Longitude: 166°E and 171°E
Vanuatu is an archipelago comprising a double chain of approximately 40 islands and 40 islets created from rocks of volcanic and coral origin. And only 65 are inhabited, with some islands home to active volcanoes and mountainous landscapes rising on Espíritu Santo to over 1,800 metres. The country has more than 2,500 km of coastline with a population 253,000. 90% of the population is informal.
Each island province has it’s own unique traditional creative skills that represent their community. The mamas are the weavers and their weavings are truly stunning. What we are presenting in our pilot is just a snap shot of what they can do. We were able to work with 4 different producer communities and some inspiring like minded individuals, who have their own businesses and brands. We are thrilled to be able to collaborate in this way.
Malampa handicrafts centre
The Malampa Handicraft Centre provides Economic Emprowerment by generating income through the sale of Handicraft items, and by providing a location for training related to handicraft produced in Malampa. These Christmas decoration are just one of their projects. The program is part of the Australian supported TVet education program.
These stunning bags are woven by Estelle who is a mama from Futuna Island. We met Estelle in the mama’s markets when we arrived in Port Vila. She is a master weaver and this is obvious from the fine work detail in her bags. They are truly stunning and wonderfully functional. The bags are made from mature pandanus fibre which gives them their rich ‘honey’ natural colour. This colour and technique is exclusive to Futuna and cannot be reproduced by any other community. Our plans for each community, village and mama, in our program, is to match their traditional skills with export market access. The opportunity for buyers is to access these exclusive products and skills and make bespoke for your clients. To start, we are presenting two traditional Futuna bags in small and large. Production is limited.
Ngua (pronounced ‘nuna’ ), is a small island off the coast of North Efate. To get there we caught a ride with the local water taxi taking only 20 minutes. We arrived to find a beautiful island village, incredibly organised, well kept and a wonderful welcoming community. There are 2 villages on the island, home to about 400 people. We met with the head mama, Leisman, and discussed the opportunity of collaborating with them to develop ongoing business. They were thrilled. We loved the brown and cream pandanus weave products, but gave them some ideas about sizing and shapes for the overseas interior design markets, the pattern and colours are unique to them. All the natural fibres are prepared on the island. We loved what they created!
Mangaliliu is a village that can be found near Havanah Harbour. It was originally a part of Lelepo island but some of the community moved to the mainland of EFATE. We asked Chief Mor Mor for permission to discuss working with the mamas of the village, and we were warmly welcomed. What strikes you most about the people of Vanuatu is their incredible smiles. The head mama Selena showed us their products and techniques - we loved the ‘moses’ platter - the scale and size is brilliant as a centre piece for your table, or a platter for that picnic you were thinking about!
Havannah Boat House
It is always great when you find kindred spirits. Zoe and Miranda are the creators behind H.B.H. The Havanah Boat House based in Havannah Harbour, North Efate. Out of their mutual passion to celebrate and actively promote the traditional ‘Kustom’ handicrafts of Vanuatu, they have created these beautiful designs with a modern edge that engage the talented Ni-Vanuatu people. It is great to be collaborating with them.