Takako’s community work began in 2017, when Takako Lui, a Tongan citizen, who has two young children in school, saw the dilapidated state of the local school’s infrastructure and decided to raise money to fix the basic needs like supplying sanitary toilets and clean water. She raised money abroad and after completing one school project she moved on to another and then another; thus, she developed a passion for community work. In 2022, she saw poverty and unnecessary hardship in the villages that came about as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and again raised the basic needs to help poor families, in particular marginalised women. her aid came in the form of diapers for both the elderly and young mothers; milk powder and food supplies, as well as clothes and suitable footwear for children. Takako works in a voluntary capacity and is totally committed to supporting the underserved community of Vava'u. Her achievements to date include, hosting sporting events and youth development workshops and women's groups.
Tepola is a mother of five children, all now successful adults in their own fields and has worked in various governmental departments in Vava'u. She is currently secretary to the ombudsman in Neiafu. Her particular area of interest in community work is with poor women and solo mothers who are struggling to raise children. She holds community forums in the villages and teaches methods of parenting, with a focus on budgeting and being resilient and resourceful within their means. She believes that if we work together as a community and strengthen even the most under supported women within the village, then the community will be stronger as a whole. She is committed to working towards developing and creating a youth centre and providing a safe and understanding platform where young mothers can come together and become empowered by increasing their knowledge of parenting and life skills; that they understand that help is there if they need it. Tepola brings a wealth of experience to Talanoa Community trust.
Hesiloni Fia, Kalolaine Fia
The husband and wife team of Loni and Kalo are an integral part of the Talanoa Community Trust. Having grown up in Vava'u in a poor families, loni and Kalo have experienced and overcome poverty in their own lives and therefore have understanding, empathy and first-hand knowledge about those less fortunate in the community. Loni is the secretary of Talanoa Community Trust and hosts and records the trust meetings at his house. He has multiple skills that he brings into the trust. He is a builder, a boatman, a driver, a plumber and all round handyman. All of his skills are used by the trust, from repairing and plumbing toilet blocks in schools to locating who is the most needy family in the villages and liaising with like-minded community groups. He acts as a role model and peer person, sharing his skills and positive attitude with the community.
Etta Harris Taomalalolo
Over her long career in education, which includes roles as vice principal, and the principle of Saineha secondary school in Vavau, a role she maintained until 2017. She has worked extensively with women's groups and youth and has organised cultural events and remains fully engaged in the community. She is currently active in education and mentors trainee teachers and students at University of South Pacific. Talanoa trust is honoured to have the experience and wisdom Etta brings to the trust.
Sisifa Mirei Lui
Sisifa is the youngest member of the Talanoa trust. She is of Tongan Japanese decent and raised in Tonga. She brings a unique voice and representation from youth to the trust. There was a unanimous decision by trustees that we would benefit from having a trustee that is directly in touch with issues that concern young women in Vava’u; a trustee that is of similar age to the young women who will populate our proposed community center. Sisifa is also instrumental in volunteering her time on the trust’s humanitarian aid program and is passionate about helping the community.