Home Anglican Church of Melanesia, Vanuatu Sacred Journeys: Antoinette and Joanna

Sacred Journeys: Antoinette and Joanna

31 January, 2019

Antoinette and Joanna have been on a sacred journey of transformation.

In Vanuatu, our partner Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) teaches women how to save money through Saving and Education Groups. Through these groups hundreds of women are learning to save money and are able to start their own businesses. Antoinette and Joanna are two of these women.

Antoinette is a women’s mentor, a leader in her community, and a business leader.

Antoinette is a women’s mentor and entrepreneur.

As soon as Antoinette heard about the idea of the savings groups, she was interested and joined. That was in 2016. Now, three years later, she has proven that not only can she save money, but she also has established herself as an entrepreneur. She has built a business selling coconut oil, cassava flour, opened a timber yard with her son, and is also looking at developing an aquaculture business.

Before joining the savings group was a “time when everything was hard,” but now she says that “her dreams have become a reality.” Thanks to you, she and her family are not financially secure. Now she mentors the women around her in the community to also save and pursue their dreams.

Antoinette also volunteers as a facilitator, which means that she is instrumental in setting up new savings groups. So far, she has formed 20 groups with around 500 members. She has seen many of her members using money more wisely, affording to start new projects that would normally be out of their financial reach.

Her message to you; “Thank you! You have done a lot for our community. Before, people didn’t save and life was hard, but now they do. It has improved our standard of living!”

Joanna is passing on her knowledge of saving and business to her children.

Joanna with her daughter Emma. She is proud to be able to pass on her new financial skills to her children.

Joanna has been a part of a savings group in her community on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu since 2016. As a member of the savings group, she was not only taught how to save money, but also give herself a goal. For some it is a savings goal; Joanna wanted to start a business.

From the money she was saving, Joanna started her own business making woven baskets from pandanus leaves, which she then sold to tourists who would arrive by boat.

Now, three years later, Joanna has been able to increase her offering, selling dresses and beach bags that she sews. She also runs a mobile phone top-up business, which her daughter Emma helps with. She says that now, from helping her and attending group meetings, Emma also has the skills to build her future. It’s not only Emma that she has passed her knowledge on to; Joanna has eight children in total and has brought every one of them along to her savings group so that they can learn about financial literacy as well.

Joanna weaving a pandanus leaf basket that she will sell to tourists at the market.

Joanne says that there are many benefits for women and families from being involved in the savings groups, however it is the feeling of having control over her life and finances that she appreciates most; “we [women] no longer only depend on the men – we can do things on or own. I can contribute now.”

The additional income generated from her new businesses have “helped her and her family a lot,” making everyday expenses like bus fares and quality food less of a worry.


Antoinette and Joanna have been on a sacred journey of transformation. They have been helped by our partner in Vanuatu, the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM), to access a better life. And they aren’t the only ones; across Vanuatu hundreds of women are benefitting from learning how to save and start their own businesses. We plan to keep telling the stories of women like Antoinette whose lives have been blessed by your support.

Will you help us to continue this journey of transformation, helping people like Antoinette realise their potential?

To donate to our 2019 End of Financial Year Appeal, click on the ‘Please Donate’ button below (choose ’01. 2019 EOFY’ from the ‘Donation’ drop-down menu) or call us on 1800 249 880.

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