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Mamma's Laef Charitable Trust

  • Signing Off

      5 May 2022
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    Our natural end has arrived.

    The Mamma's Laef Charitable Trust will be officially closing in June 2022.

    Final donations via this site will be during the month of May 2022.

    Our job is more or less completed.

    Border closures have delayed some important aspects as to the next part of the journey for Mamma's Laef Vanuatu, but we are hopeful that an official handover will be able to take place on a face to face basis some time in the near future.

    The last of the donations received via this site in 2021 and 2022 will be added to a significant donation which was made by a caring New Zealander. This will provide for approximately 400 school girls, female teachers and staff to receive our Vanuatu Made reusable menstrual pads.

    This is a fantastic way to wrap up the work of the Charitable Trust.

    THANK YOU for the support, financially and otherwise that you have provided to us, so we could enable the wonderous works that Mamma's Laef Vanuatu has been completing, and will continue to complete.

    To read Belinda's farewell on behalf of the Trust, follow this link

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  • Modern reusable baby nappies made in Vanuatu

      16 February 2021
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    Necessity is the mother of invention.

    Well, we didn't INVENT the reusable baby nappy.

    We have definitely spent a lot of time, energy and money researching, developing, sewing, changing and trialling a modern reusable baby nappy for Vanuatu.

    We now have a prototype that has been trialled in 3 communities near Port Vila and sold directly to families in Port Vila.

    Fortunately for Mammas Laef Vanuatu the British company, Bambino Mio who have worked in the industry for 25+ years, have been giving us their technical supports. With the help of SAVVY Vanuatu, a report has now been published, giving a great starting point of how Vanuatu might approach the pending disposable baby nappy ban.

    The Report was handed over to the Department of Industry last week.

    To read more; follow the link in our blog.

    There's a great little video too - check it out.

    Our innovation continues, always from the basis, what is it we can do to support women in Vanuatu to take control of their future.

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  • 2020 in review - lukluk bak lo yia 2020

      29 December 2020
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    2020 started out well.

    January – I took a brief trip to Vanuatu and scheduled a further trip for March. It was while I was travelling back to New Zealand in late January that I first heard of Corona virus and the impact it was having in China.

    We all know what happened soon after that. Within days, plans changed for people across the globe.

    February – Mary & Jack were accepted into an incubation programme with V-Lab. A wonderful opportunity for their personal and business development.

    March – Vanuatu closed it’s borders to all flights on 20th March. Marc-Antoine from V-Lab suggested Mamma’s Laef manufacture reusable face masks. Diversification is key to keeping abreast of the challenges that we were facing.

    April – 6th and 7th April saw the unwelcome visit from Cyclone Harold – sweeping through and devastating the central islands of Vanuatu.

    May to July – Vanuatu was still COVID free but all focus was on producing products for Cyclone Harold relief efforts by both Vanuatu placed International and local NGO’s. Logistics for those at the front line were difficult, to say the least. The demand for our products was high, but the supply chain was severely disrupted due to non production of factories in China and the long delays in shipping into the Pacific. We stopped production for a while, waiting for much needed supplies.

    Discussions started again about the possibility of our Reusable Nappy Pilot happening. We were keen, but needed to consider the country still being in “clean up/ support mode” from TC Harold.

    August – Jack travelled with Department of Environment Protection & Conservation to speak with rural and remote communities about the pending disposable baby diaper ban and the alternatives. (Thanks to DEPC for this opportunity).

    Production of menstrual pads started again, through a grant from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.

    September – our Reusable Baby Nappy Pilot starts.

    October – working closely with Bambino Mio and SAVVY Vanuatu to capture valuable information to present to Vanuatu government and other interested parties.

    November – the first COVID19 positive person arrives in Vanuatu, and our reusable mask production goes into over-drive – giving more women the chance to earn an income for their families.

    Time to reflect on our year.

    * Developed new products – reusable face masks and reusable baby nappies.

    * Shared new products with rural and remote communities.

    * Finalised and produced the Men’s TokTok menstrual health education programme.

    * Produced a short video about how we want to see the future of the Pacific.

    * Commenced links to communities via our Champions model.

    * Started a direct sales team in Port Vila and recently expanding to rural communities.

    * Our first imports directly from manufacturers of our raw materials.

    * Provided more women with short term work.

    * Worked alongside other Pacific menstrual health champions to develop better supply chains and to break the taboo of menstruation – Pacific-wide.

    For now - it's time for a short rest. Thanks for your supports in 2020. We will welcome 2021.

    Mi lukim yu

    Belinda & the Vanuatu team

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  • Mens Talk - UN75

      18 June 2020

    There was a call out from the United Nations to celebrate their 75 year anniversary. "What is the Pacific future that you want". This is our answer.

    Working in an area that receives little attention, this was a wonderful vehicle for us to showcase the desires of our Vanuatu people.

    Building healthy relationships through men’s talk.

    We work in a space (menstruation or sikmun) that responds to many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, yet the topic still struggles to be heard.

    Receiving this grant to develop a story telling vehicle and revise our mens education programme, was a long awaited opportunity.

    In 2017, Jack helped develop a programme to share with men. We started to open up the conversation with men and menstruation in early 2018.

    Jack has taken that message to 9 islands so far, and the response has been encouraging. Given the chance, yes men did want to chat about sikmun. Delivered in a sensitive and culturally appropriate way.

    Check out our little movie - planting the seeds.

    Getting us thinking.

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  • In Memory of Katherine Stirling Kerr Cawsey

      26 May 2020

    Katherine Stirling Cawsey

    Born in New Hebrides 8 October 1917 and died in Canberra Australia on 10 May 2020


    We were recently approached by our friends Sarah & Dave of The Story Boxes in Brisbane. An elderly friend of theirs, Katherine had recently passed away at the incredible age of 102. Born in Vanuatu (known then as New Hebrides) in 1917 and lived there as a young child, before her family returned to live Australia.

    Knowing the connection which The Story Boxes had with Vanuatu – Katherine’s family asked if there was a charity which they knew of which might receive donations in memory of Katherine.

    This is how we became connected.

    But the story goes beyond this connection in 2020.

    From 1919, the Kerr Brothers had a trading business and become plantation, store and ship owners trading throughout and beyond the New Hebrides Islands (as Vanuatu was known then). The business was run by Katherine's father, his sisters and his brother.

    Katherine wrote several books over the years, giving an interesting history of those times. A time when labour trade was happening, something her family did not participate in. In fact the family enjoyed a good reputation among Islanders, settlers, traders and some colonial officials and missionaries.

    Katherines’ family were at one time, based in a small village on the east coast of Santo – Hog Harbour. That is the village of Mary from Mammas Laef.

    Mary Kalsrap whose mother’s family, the Reuben’s, gifted land to Katherine’s family. It was there that the Stirling house was built. The house has long gone, and today, on those foundations of the Stirling house, is the house of Mary’s uncle.

    It is indeed a small world. One in which we so often find a link between ourselves and so many others.

    We would like to thank and acknowledge the family and friends of Katherine Stirling Kerr Cawsey who have generously supported Mammas Laef Vanuatu.

    It seems fitting that the donations will take the form of practical relief for women who have suffered such a lot as a result of the early April 2020, category 5, Tropical Cyclone Harold. Menstrual pads, made in Vanuatu will soon be transported to remote communities who are very much in need of our products.

    We get the sense that Katherine would approve of the concept of Mammas Laef – supporting women to take control of their future.

    Mi lukim yu


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  • Canada Fund for Local Initiatives - Incontinence

      6 February 2020

    Helping those who have asked us.

    If you have a solution and can answer the call of those you meet, then why wouldn't you.

    Incontinence (for women who have given birth in particular) is a topic that is naturally discussed when chatting about menstruation.

    That in turn, led us to talk more about urinary and fecal incontinence.

    So our solution was developed and tested, and now thanks to funding through the Canadian High Commission in Canberra, Australia - we were able to reach people living with disability and incontinence.

    It's a small thing, but it does make a difference.

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  • Responding to the needs of communities we visit

      9 December 2019
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    Along our journey of supporting women of all ages in their menstrual health needs, we were approached by many menopausal women who still wanted menstrual pads. We asked WHY is that? WHAT is the need?

    This led us to begin exploring a range of products which could help woman (and now men also) who are living with incontinence issues.

    For the past 12 months we've been trialling a range of products and have been adapting our designs as we receive feedback from trialists.

    In 2019, our Charitable Trust received some funds from the High Commission in Canada via their programme - Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, which the Vanuatu team have been using to create impact. Click on the link below to find out more

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  • Join us on our journey to Futuna & Aniwa - June 2019

      12 July 2019

    We hope you enjoy this short movie clip. It will give you more insight into the challenges and impact the Mamma's Laef team creates, when visiting remote and rural areas in Vanuatu.

    The footage was filmed by us, edited by #TheStoryBoxes thanks to the support from #DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Australia) #iXc (Innovation XChange team).


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  • Remote islands

      27 June 2019
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    In a country that is made up of more than 83 islands and 65 of those are inhabited, it requires a lot of travel to get to the most remote living people.

    The Frontier Innovators award programme has allowed us to deliver more than 500 packs of menstrual pads (which are sometimes used for incontinence for non menstruating women) on the islands of Futuna and Aniwa in June 2019.

    Futuna is a magnificient island. The large "rock" dominates over the entire island. Travel is not easy - mainly by foot or small boat. We HIKED a lot on Futuna. As you can imagine, the people of Futuna are very fit - there are 2 vehicles on the island - 4 wheel motor bikes. Our on-island coordinator ensured we were able to access as many of population as we could in just a few days. We fitted a lot into our few days on the island and were fortunate to be given this opportunity.

    Aniwa, was a short plane ride from Futuna, but their landscapes could not be more different. Aniwa is very flat. We walked a lot there. There was one truck operational at the time, for the entire island. That truck was very useful in transporting the bags of menstrual pads from our starting point each morning.

    Once again, we had wonderful support from the on-island coordinator; the Area Council Secretary.

    So we continue on our target of supporting all women in Vanuatu to take control of their future (by way of supporting their menstrual and hygiene needs).

    Thanks for your continued support.

    Pop over to our new website for more about our social enterprise in Pango Village, Vanuatu.

    Mi lukim yu


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