From where I stand: Anisa Marama


Anisa Marama, a market vendor in Fiji. Photo: UN Women/Eva Schroeder
Photo: UN Women/Eva Schroeder.

I have been selling at Suva Market for 60 years. I like it because it keeps me active; I’d rather be here than stuck at home and it’s better that I earn my own money than rely on my children. I stopped going to school when I was seven years old because my parents couldn’t afford to send me anymore, so instead I helped around the house.

My husband was a hard man to live with. When his contract was cut we moved to Suva and I started selling at the market. My husband didn’t get another job and I really struggled. I had no choice but to do something to help the family survive. Everything I earned went to support my kids. That’s what motivates me to come back every day.

I get up at 5.30 in the morning every day so I can get to the market by 6.55, and then I stay there until around 6 p.m. On a good day I can earn FJD100 (USD 50) but some days I sit here all day by myself and don’t sell anything.

There have been a lot of changes since I started at the market and I’m so happy to see the changes that are taking place now to improve the lives of women market vendors.”

SDG 1: No poverty
SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

Anisa Marama is a 79-year-old market vendor in Fiji’s capital, Suva, and has been taking part in workshops on financial literacy and workplace organizations as part of UN Women’s Markets for Change project. The workshops are in line with the new Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 1 on ending poverty, which seeks equal rights to economic resources, and SDG 8 which calls for sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, particularly for women and those in precarious employment.

Read more stories in the “From where I stand...” editorial series.