Harvesting Success: Florentina Pereira’s Journey of Financial Empowerment

Florentina with her fish stock that is sold within and around her community on Atauro Island as well as to the mainland in Dili.

Nestled along the serene coastline of Timor-Leste, there lived a determined woman named Florentina Pereira. At 46 years old, Florentina is not just a small business owner; she is the heartbeat of her family’s enterprise, which encompassed seaweed cultivation, livestock rearing, and fish farming.

Florentina’s journey into entrepreneurship began humbly in 2003 when she started selling fresh fish by the day. What started as a small endeavor gradually evolved into a thriving business, thanks to her unwavering dedication and entrepreneurial spirit.

As the years passed, Florentina expanded her business horizons, venturing into seaweed farming and diversifying her offerings to include various agricultural produce. Her family, including her husband and children, stood by her side, contributing their efforts to the flourishing enterprise.

Their livelihood relied not only on the fruits of the land but also on the bounty of the sea. Florentina’s husband, a skilled fisherman, complemented their income by bringing in fresh catches from the ocean, which they supplied both to the bustling markets of Dili and to their own community, ensuring that fresh seafood was readily available to all.

Despite her success in business, Florentina felt a pang of uncertainty when it came to managing finances. Like many self-made entrepreneurs, she had never received formal training in money management and often found herself navigating financial matters without a clear direction.

Florentina displaying her seaweed stock with USP PEUMP’s Dr Jokim Kitolelei and Mr Junior Carvalho of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

That all changed when Florentina seized the opportunity to participate in a financial literacy training program coordinated by the USP PEUMP project in collaboration with ANZ. The knowledge she gained during the sessions was like a beacon of light illuminating her path forward. For the first time, she learned practical strategies for budgeting, saving, and investing wisely.

Armed with this newfound knowledge, Florentina felt empowered to take control of her family’s finances and optimize their business operations. She hopes to implement smart budgeting techniques, streamlined expenses, and set aside funds for future investments and emergencies.

Florentina plans to share this knowledge beyond her own household – sharing her learnings with her family and fellow entrepreneurs in the community, inspiring others to take charge of their financial futures.

With each passing day, Florentina’s business thrived, fueled by her unwavering determination and newfound financial knowledge. Her story will be a testament to the transformative power of knowledge and perseverance, proving that with the right tools and mindset, even the humblest beginnings could lead to boundless success.

USP is one of four key implementing partners of the PEUMP Programme, a EUR 45million programme which promotes sustainable management and sound ocean governance for food security and economic growth while addressing climate change resilience and conservation of marine biodiversity.

It follows a comprehensive approach, integrating issues related to ocean fisheries, coastal fisheries, community development, marine conservation and capacity building under one single regional action. The USP PEUMP programme is housed within the Institute of Marine Resources within the School of Agriculture, Geography, Environment, Ocean and Natural Sciences (SAGEONS).

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