By Akosita Talei
Since her husband passed away in 2014, Vika Nasilasila has been looking after the wellbeing of her family.
Nasilasila is originally from Nadarivatu in the highlands of Ba but lives in Nailaga, where her late husband hails from.
She has four grown-up children who have their own family, however, in 2018 she was hit with another untimely loss. This time, her daughter-in-law passed away following a short illness.
Nasilasila and her husband initially raised two grandsons, but following the loss of her daughter-in-law, she had to care for her four grandchildren.
With six grandchildren under her care, Nasilasila has turned to roadside stalls and handicraft business to support them in their education, food and other basic needs.
She would earn around FJ$60 daily from selling brooms, seasonal fruits and tamarind from a non-charged village makeshift stall just outside her home along the Queen's highway in Viti Levu.
However, if Nasilasila sells from the Ba handicraft market where she has a stall of her own, she would earn approximately FJ$300-$400 from selling tapa ordered from Vatulele island, garland or ‘Salusalu’, mats and other handicrafts she buys to sell and earn profits.
Supporting her grandchildren is her main goal although she faces some challenges but adds this will not deter her mission, ensure they are educated, have food on their table and raise them to be future leaders.
Nasilasila also has a farmhouse in Sagunu, Ba where she plants watermelons, maize, and chilies with the hope that she supplies this to the market and hotels in the Western Division in the near future.
With the UN Women Markets for Change project (implemented by UNDP) reaching their village this year, it has enabled her to broaden her ideas into venturing into other businesses.
And, all this to support her eight grandchildren.