Papua New Guinea
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Passion turned into income


A father of three has turned his passion for bilum weaving into earning an income.

It is not only a women’s world. For Kentis Tumao, a subsistence farmer and caring father when it comes to weaving bilum.

Kentis from Eastern Highlands province started weaving bilums in 2008. He learned how to weave from his dear wife and since then, his passion for bilum weaving has grown. He had always wanted to sell his bilums but had no proper market platform.

Kentis weaves bilums for himself, for gifting them to friends, or weaves them to present them to relatives on special cultural occasions such as marriage and courtship.

The father of three has specialized in every pattern of the bilum. He also invented new patterns and taught mothers in the community to weave those patterns.

Jenna Marato, one of the mothers in the community said Kentis is so fast in weaving and learning new patterns and sometimes they cannot keep up with him.

“He outplays us in our own game and that is something unique about him.”

Jenna said mothers in the community started their online bilum sales in 2021 through the Facebook page “Nagri Kure” in their language, meaning “Bilum bilong Mi” which is currently managed by her son in Port Moresby.

The page had helped Kentis and the mothers to sell their beautiful bilums to make money to support their household.

Mr Tumao said he sometimes gets criticism from his immediate family for doing the women’s work but he continues to do what he loves to do.

“I earned money from doing what I love and there’s nothing wrong with that”

Kentis said now that his bilum is selling fast online, it gives him the drive to weave more than before.