Many people are fascinated with the work produced by a hard-working group of disabled men and women from the Creative Centre in Tupapa.
The hut focuses on producing arts, crafts, and clothing for sale while at the same time promoting disability awareness. It has also been designed to provide a homely and welcoming environment for tourists and locals alike.
Volunteer Denise Beck said the hut opened earlier this year but only operated then on Saturdays.
Now it is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and there has been an upsurge of support and encouragement from people who have purchased products from the hut.
“It is great to see their work being recognised by customers and it encourages them to produce even more,” Beck said.
Manager Rodger Harkness said everything was designed by the group’s men and women who decided which colours to use and what patterns they wanted.
“Every product has a card on it and it talks about the person who designed and made the product and also says a little about the centre,” Harkness said.
Some of the products are also displayed at Island Craft in Avarua.
“The group produces a 100 per cent viable income, and the profit goes towards the group of students (disabled men and women). It also goes towards purchasing materials for the products.
“We run on a good business model; the students are absolutely excited about their products being sold because they know they will get something out of it.”
He said there were 20 students at the centre and payday is a big day for them.
“It makes them feel independent, realising that they can earn their own income and buy what they need.
“They are really motivated. They support each other and it has become a positive part of their life. I mean they are actually using their income wisely.”
Harkness said the centre has received plenty of support for the hut and they acknowledge the sponsors and supporters who have supported them in this project.
Volunteer Tini Fryer said the business tries to get all the products sold and success depends on tourist numbers – as well as the level of interest from locals.
Products on display at the hut include pareus, cards, necklaces and t-shirts and it is open from 10am to 2pm.