“One of the ambitions of Laba Holdings is to create an enabling environment for local businesses to succeed,” says Raho Kevau, Chairman of Laba Holdings Limited, the umbrella landowner company for the PNG LNG Plant communities.
“In particular, we want women to take centre stage. Women are often overlooked in Papua New Guinean society. Still, they have so much potential in the business arena, which is why we are trying to create more opportunities to support them.”
To demonstrate this commitment, Laba has recently contracted Diari Tailoring, a local women’s sewing business in Boera, to produce uniforms for their air travel staff. Laba will support the initiative by assisting in the materials supply chain needed for manufacture, as well as extending a concessional commercial payment to enable the immediate acquisition of materials.
Diari Tailoring will initially operate out of the Boera Women’s Resource Centre, built with funding support from ExxonMobil PNG (EMPNG) in 2018 to support capacity building and small to medium enterprise initiatives for women in the PNG LNG Plant villages. Since its opening, 40 women have participated in sewing training and have developed the necessary skills for garment construction.
“Having this opportunity is like a dream come true,” comments Doreka Dai, founder of Diari Tailoring and part of the Advancing PNG: Women Leaders Network (APNG:WLN).
“The inspiration for this project came from my time as a participant in the EMPNG supported Global Women in Management (GWIM) program. By learning from the business experiences and stories of other women, I realised there were many opportunities for women to advance themselves. I have always had a passion for sewing and have always wanted to start my own business. With the support of APNG:WLN and Laba, this has now become a reality.”
Doreka explains that while there is a lot of work ahead, she is confident they will be able to deliver a good quality product.
“The support shown by Laba has been overwhelming,” comments Doreka. “We are excited to take on this challenge, and we are confident it will bring many positive benefits to the community.”
Chairman Kevau comments that this initiative will become an example for the rest of the community, inspiring a domino effect that he hopes will lead to the start of many new local businesses.
“We’re prepared to take a chance on our people,” Chairman Kevau comments. “We know they can do this and we are committed to working with them to ensure this is a success. It is the true meaning of empowerment. When the first uniforms are completed, the whole community will dance in celebration!”