Onano's story

Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea: Onano John, a bee farmer, makes enough money from her business to support her family, employ her husband, and save. Photo: Patrick Moran/OxfamAUS.

The sweet taste of empowerment

When women can earn a living it not only increases their independence and improves gender equality, it also helps whole communities lift themselves out of poverty. So Oxfam has been empowering women in the highlands of Papua New Guinea to make a sustainable living.
Onano John is a bee farmer who got her start after attending a series of training workshops offered by Oxfam partner, New Guinea Fruit Company Ltd. The mother of three young children jumped at the opportunity to learn new ways of earning an income. “I attended three trainings but I had no bee hives so Sally [Managing Director of New Guinea Fruit] saw that I was interested so she gave me a box which started me off,” recalls Onano.

“I was excited when I got the box. I took it home, made a stand for my first hive. I bought my veil, smoker, hive tool. Every morning and afternoon, I would check that one hive. When I saw that there were many bees and were going to produce honey, I bought another box, wax, spray. I was excited about farming bees.”

Onano’s hard work and dedication paid off and soon she was earning enough from her harvest to employ her husband, send her children to school and save for a more substantial farm.

“I am very happy with New Guinea Fruit Company because the company gave me that one box, which I looked after and grew fast my bee farming. I earned a huge income from the sale of honey. I’m happy because that money helped me and my family.”

Read more gender justice stories

We’re got plenty of inspiring stories about how our gender justice work has enabled women to earn, learn and lead in their communities.
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You and Oxfam: tackling gender justice

If you feel as driven to address gender inequality as we do, you can transform women’s lives every single day.
Rural Lilongwe, Malawi: Sofereti (42) collects the final product from the solar powered processing machine in the Mwayi Wathu Peanut Butter factory in Lilongwe. Photo: Aurelie Marrier d’Unienville/OxfamAUS.