14/4/16Pasifika Woman in Business Award winner on about kids and education
Award-winning businesswoman Lealofi Fuataga is the first to point out that her business is not perfect.
Fuataga is the founder of Kids on Faith of One Touch (Kids on Foot), which provides before and after school and holiday programmes in Lower Hutt and Wellington.
The trained primary school teacher was awarded the Pasifika Woman Business Owner of the Year Award at the inaugural ANZ Pasifika Business Awards last week.
Grateful for the recognition, Fuataga said she was not trained or experienced in business in any way so building her venture had been challenge after challenge since it started in 2010.
She did not know accounting and struggled to keep up with her invoices, but she had a strong vision for children and education.
Kids on Foot provided the usual activities like going to movies, going swimming but there were also more altruistic activities.
On one programme, the children helped raise more than $3000 in a four-hour event for a girl who needed a cochlear implant.
"It's about them appreciating what they have and then thinking of ways to help people," Fuataga said.
She realised she was focusing so much on the achievements of her students that she had not noticed her son was falling behind in one of his subjects at school.
She resigned from her teaching job to home-school her son and the foundations of Kids on Foot formed.
Despite having no business experience, Fuataga grew the programmes to centres in Petone, Wainuiomata, Taita and Kilbirnie.
She is working on opening an early childhood centre in Wainuiomata and in time, she wants to build an early childhood centre at each site.
As a mother of five children - the youngest one born last week - Fuataga believes family should not have to be sacrificed to succeed in business.
"For me, I'm first a daughter to God, second a wife to an amazing man, third I'm a mother and then I'm a businesswoman after that. Those priorities, if they're not taken care of, I can't be a successful businesswoman," she said.
Her cousin, sister and parents have all helped in some way with the business and without her husband Sam, Fuataga said Kids on Foot would not have grown the way it has.
"I do hope people will look at our situation and think, anything is possible.
"It's not easy. But the pay-off is amazing for our family."
April 2010 Holidays
Te Omanga Hospice VOLUNTEER NEWSLETTER
Day Care Centre – On Wednesday 14 April, patients, volunteers and staff enjoyed a wonderful concert presented by a group of young Pacific Island people from Kids on f.o.o.t aged from 4 to 14 and their caregivers. The organiser Lealofi Nanai and her team are to be congratulated for the time and effort they put into this school holiday programme. As well as the concert, they had undertaken a collection (raising over $200 for the Hospice) and provided some baking for the staff for morning tea. There are plans to do another concert during future school holidays. Lealofi explained that she wanted to raise the awareness of Hospice and what we do – a big tick for our strategic goals!
Sept/Oct 2010 HolidaysKids on f.o.o.t. in step with Habitat
Posted on: 23 October 2010
During the Sept/Oct school holidays, the Kids on f.o.o.t. holiday programme (Kids on Faith of One Touch) based in Petone under the direction of Lealofi Nanai, chose to learn about housing need in NZ and participated in some in-house activities, including making model fales and fundraising. Tina Francis, Resource Development Manager at Habitat, visited the programme in the first week of the holidays and told the children about Habitat’s work. She was accompanied by Mat Keys and his family, who had all volunteered in Samoa to help rebuild fales following the tsunami and were able to share their photos and experiences with the children. In the second week, the children visited the Habitat house build at 20 Leicester Street with lots of food to share and were also able to have fun with the Global Village team on site, ask them some questions and play a few games. The older children participated with enthusiasm banging in nails on the front fence under construction. Congratulations to Lealofi and her leadership team on this wonderful holiday programme which attempts to teach children how they can participate and add value to their community from a young age.
Children in the Kids on f.o.o.t holiday programme visit the Leicester Street build. Photo by Russ Finnerty