It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.Nelson Mandela

Seini – happiness that shines

September 27, 2014

Seini Mafile’o is the happiest woman you will ever meet – her laughter is infectious. She is a successful businesswoman who was nominated for the SPBD Tonga Business Woman of the Year this year, and works with her son David, sewing all kinds of colourful dresses and shirts. She began sewing when her late husband bought her a sewing machine and she taught herself by sewing school uniforms and other clothes for her six children. This caught on and she started taking orders from other people.


Unfortunately, her husband passed away and Seini was left to look after the six children. They were living with family at the time; she had bought some land with her husband to build a house. Without her husband, Seini was busy sewing just to feed her family, and building the house seemed far from reality.

Since joining SPBD, Seini has been able to kick start her business with new fabrics and equipment. She has been able to build a house using savings and the income from her business. Seini taught her son David how to sew, who says he feels “very proud” of his mother’s achievements. Seini plans to buy two new sewing machines and expand the business. David’s dream is to have his own clothes shop.


Before receiving a loan, Seini was working through the night just to put food on the table for her family. She still works just as hard, but is proud of what she has achieved and has been able to provide for her family. Seini says she looks forward to SPBD centre meetings each week because of the financial education and discussions about how she can improve her business. She values her new financial booklet for the information it contains about her loan and savings, and the cash flow diary where she writes down her income and spending. “I am able to see where my money is going,” she says, “then I don’t spend on things that aren’t important.”

With a little help, Seini has been able to build a house and provide for her family, but most of all she feels proud and happy about these achievements.


Zac is based in and is Good Return's Field Support Officer. Read more by Zac

Categories: Field Support Officers, Skills Development, Success Stories, Tonga

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