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Meet the team

Mamma’s Laef Vanuatu is now owned and operated by Jack and Mary Kalsrap, who have been on board with this idea from the very beginning, and they are currently employing 5 part time workers. Many of these women had never had stable income before, and are now gaining in skills, independence and confidence.

To support the development to ensure a sustainable future, Mamma’s Laef Vanuatu are supported by the Mamma’s Laef Charitable Trust (a registered charity – CC56057). The Trustees are the Founder of Mamma’s Laef, Belinda Roselli and the other Trustee is Tina Onnes. Tina has been a mentor to Belinda throughout the research phase to the implementation and delivery of the manufacturing and awareness tasks. The partnership between the New Zealand and Vanuatu entities has been formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding. This arrangement gives clarity to donors as well as developing a successful enterprise.

Mary

Mary

My favourite island food is island taro. I have 3 children.

Jack

Jack

I am from Pango village, South Efate. I finished school when I was 15 years, but I was in Class 6. In those days, older children were mixed in with younger children in all grades at school. My favourite island food is kumala.

Sonia

Sonia

I finished school at Year 6. I have 2 children. My home island is Efate.   I have lived in Pango village most of my life, apart from a short time on Erromango where my husband was from.  My husband died at an early age and I returned to Pango village.

Marise

Maryse

My favourite food is laplap yam, which is our traditional food in Vanuatu. My home island is Motalava in the Banks group in the far north of Vanuatu.

Larysha

Larysha

I finished school when I was in Year 12 (secondary school), but I wasn’t able to make it to the end of the school year, because we had trouble paying the school fees. Now I have this chance to work in Mamma’s Laef Vanuatu.

Tousong

Tousong

My favourite island food is yam. My home island is Efate.  I have 4 children and live across the road from the Mammas Laef site.

Belinda-1

Belinda Roselli

I am the mother of 2 young adults. My upbringing taught me that it is important to help those that you can. I feel grateful for being able to share my skills with the team in Vanuatu.

Tina

Tina Onnes

I love what Mamma’s Laef are achieving in Vanuatu. When Belinda asked me to become a Trustee, I was more than happy to share my business skills.

Whats the link between Mamma’s Laef and Lav Kokonas

Mamma’s Laef is a longest running project of Lav Kokonas. You can read more about Lav Kokonas in Belinda’s Blogs. There it tells the story of how Belinda began to “pay it forward in Vanuatu” after a family holiday in 2010.

The approach of Lav Kokonas had always been around, providing a hand-up not a hand-out. It was essential that Mamma’s Laef take that pathway too.

The concept of Mamma’s Laef was sparked when the owner of Lav Kokonas, Belinda Roselli asked the question in the wake of Cyclone Pam (March 2015). “In times of natural disaster in Vanuatu, what do women use for their monthly period?”

Over the next 6 months, the answer became clear. Menstrual tools were not easily accessible at any time for many rural living women in Vanuatu, resulting in women of all ages, not being able to fully participate in daily activities. Alongside the lack of menstrual resources, were the cultural taboos and confusing messages about menstrual health.

And so the plan was put in place to develop an enterprise in Vanuatu where local women would be given the opportunity to developing their skills, providing an income while sewing menstrual pads.

Jack and Mary Kalsrap took up the challenge and hosted the sewing days and housed all the equipment in their home.  As we have expanded, so has our base in Pango village, but we are still located on the Kalsrap compound.

Fast forward almost 4 years to March 2019 – since we started producing washable sanitary pads in Vanuatu, the bulk of our sanitary pad packs have been given to girls in schools. We’ve managed to do this by campaigning to donors in Vanuatu, England, New Zealand and Australia. The donors have paid for the pads and we have arranged to distribute the pads to girls in schools and women in communities on 6 islands in the Vanuatu archipelago made up of 83 islands.

Why social enterprise?

Warning! Embarking on a social enterprise is not for the faint-hearted.

Required are the following attributes … vision, tenacity, endurance, some funds, the ability to tell your story, patience and most importantly – the right people in your team.

Added to those qualities, you need to be able to provide potential funders with robust reporting mechanisms to prove the impact you are creating / have created. You have an obligation to funders results.

Social enterprise can be defined as...

“A revenue-generating business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to deliver profit to shareholders and owners.”

Maybe this will explain it better

Mamma's Laef as a social enterprise

In the Vanuatu landscape, our social enterprise is a registered business, owned by ni Vanuatu. Our mandate is to cover our costs but with a focus on providing

– multi-level supports to ni Vanuatu
– develop employment skills
– develop business skills
– provide incomes
– provide education around a tricky topic to discuss in Vanuatu
– provide quality menstrual products (and others too).

You can’t expect a small project to go from zero to hero overnight.

We’ve taken a gentle approach, and embedding skill development along the way – it all takes time and it all takes money.

That is the beauty of the way we have structured Mamma’s Laef, as a social enterprise.

Yes, we want to be financially sustainable.

But, when you have started from zero, you do need a helping hand.

Given that Vanuatu is a “least developed nation”, we acknowledge a helping hand is needed.

We have “skin in the game” and this is our home.

Donation vs. in-country Enterprise

For years, developed nations have given to poorer nations time after time after time after time. Valuable lessons have been learnt along the way. In times of humanitarian disasters (climate or otherwise), donations can be a rapid way of supporting the immediate needs of a community / nation and no one can deny that this approach provides immediate impact, because it is generally done in a coordinated and country led way.

Where mass donations can go terribly wrong, sometimes with disastrous consequences, when well meaning people donate products without thought about HOW to distribute and WHO will receive the products.

This article gives a picture of what can go wrong.

When it comes to longer term supports for a least developed nation, some International, it is recognised that working with a community can provide sustainable, longer lasting positive impacts. That is what we can achieve by being on the ground, and knowing the context of our fellow in Vanuatu.

Mamma’s Laef Charitable Trust

The Charitable Trust is a formal way of ensuring we can support what is happening at a grassroots level, in Vanuatu.

Together the two entities have a VISION to be “Supporting women to control their future”. Our MISSION Statement describes how we do this; “Mamma’s Laef empowers women by providing sustainable menstrual products, creating social enterprise, and breaking taboos about menstruation.”

As a result of being awarded recognition in the Frontier Innovators programme in (DFAT) in 2018, Mamma’s Laef Charitable Trust was formed, to formally support the development of Mamma’s Laef Vanuatu (a ni-Vanuatu owned and operated social enterprise, trading as a business).

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