Christina and her family posed for a photo with their craft creations in front of their homestay business, built from the income of the craft sales

Very often, we hear the adage that “behind every successful man is a woman.” But for Christina Sirig Manar, it’s the reverse; her journey to become a successful female entrepreneur has been with the support and strength of her husband.

Mrs. Manar hails from the village of Vetimboso in Vanualava, TORBA Province, and she is a mother of three beautiful daughters.

As part of traditional village life, she and her husband, Jonaston Manar, would regularly dedicate time to weaving and sharing ideas together for new craft creations, as well as taking care of their gardening responsibilities. Their passion to support each other continued to grow as they began to see each other’s potential.

“My husband is my rock. He motivates me every day to go one step higher in life every time I get involved in something.

“He also teaches me crafting skills which I never had before,” Mrs. Manar said.

In 2018, the couple attended a training on Business Management supported by the Vanuatu Skills Partnership (VSP) through the TORBA Skills Centre, which motivated them to register their first business in crafting in that same year.

Through this process, they were coached and mentored by the VSP technical coaching team, who Christina applauds as crucial to the success of their business today.

Little did they know that with the skills they acquired and their commitment to supporting each other, they would transform their standard of living to another level.

With the strong determination she showed, Mrs. Manar was appointed as the President of the Vetimboso Craft Association, which supplies craft products to the TORBA Handicraft Centre, also supported by the TORBA Skills Centre and VSP.

Mrs. Manar is delighted that she and her husband have been able to share their experiences with other members of their community as well as families from other communities on why it is important for a husband and the wife to work together to achieve success.

“I know that many ni-Vanuatu men are supporting their wives in different areas of life. I am proud of what my husband is doing,” she said.

Mrs. Manar’s and her husband’s main customers are visitors who travel to TORBA province. With their business success, they have been able to invest their increased income into a new visitor accommodation facility that is now providing extra income into their business.

“I am so proud of how far we have come. And I know I have been able to achieve this through the strength and support of my husband who believed in me from the very start.

“My encouragement to other women and men is that, to thrive and prosper together, you need to respect and support each other and work towards a common goal,” she said.

Mrs. Manar’s new goals are to support her daughters to have access to better education and make sure they have a permanent house in the future.