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South Pacific Business Development Fiji has launched its TC Yasa Rehabilitation Loan Programme, with 361 loans totalling $1.22 million processed in the first release.

The loans were handed over in Labasa and Savusavu in ceremonies late last month.

More than half of SPBD’s members in the Northern Division reported damages to their homes as a result of TC Yasa, and 78% reported losses to their main income sources.

The loans range from $1000 to $2500, and they will be consolidated with any existing loans.

Amongst the loan recipients attending the Savusavu ceremony was a contingent of members from Rabi. Read their stories below.

Raua Tiam

Raua Tiam is a member of the South Pacific Business Development (SPBD) Nadoi Centre, joining “the day it started in Rabi.” The 64 years old runs a canteen, which she opened last year.

When Tropic Cyclone Yasa struck Fiji it destroyed part of her home, and the extension she used for her campaign. She plans to use the TC Yasa loan she secured this year to repair both buildings.

“I thank SPBD for giving me another chance, for giving me this loan which is going to help me a lot during this time.”

Raua says SPBD has enabled her to “start a business, to earn a good living, you know. The kind of service SPBD gives for my business, it’s hard to get anywhere else.”

She says it has also taught her many things: “How to save money. How to manage money. Before SPBD, I used to use it anyhow. Now, I will be able to do some savings.”

Raua says the biggest challenge with her business is getting canteen supplies from Savusavu and transporting them to Rabi.

“SPBD helped me start my business and that is one of my proudest moments with them. They helped me earn my own money. If I get sick and I want to go to the hospital, I can use my savings to take me there. It’s very helpful.”

Her ambitions for the future? “I want my business to be successful so that I will have a lot of savings and be able to extend my house. And later on, I plan to buy a car to help me get around easily, especially if I need to go to the hospital because it’s far from where I live.”

Lucian Reiher

60-year-old Lucian Reiher lives by the sea. When TC Yasa came, waves entered her house and destroyed some of her belongings, badly affecting her business.

Lucian has been with the SPBD’s Nuku Centre in Rabi for about two years. She sells tobacco and also sews.

She plans to use the TC Yasa loan for home improvements. “My sewing machine is not working anymore so I am going to get a new one.”

Lucian says her initial SPBD loan “helped me establish my businesses and improved my family’s standard of living. I am also able to give back to my family and my community.”

Like many SPBD Rabi members, her biggest challenge is the travel back and forth from Rabi by boat “to get the things needed to keep the businesses flowing. The boat goes only once a week from Rabi. If it’s full or if I miss it this week, then I will have to wait for the next trip.”

Lucian hopes her business will enable her to “make enough savings to extend our house, pay for my children’s education and other things.”

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