Everyday People: Fajiaka Rovanama Kubo

Born and raised in Port Moresby and the place where her passion for baking and dream of running a business sparked.

Fajiaki Rovanama Kubo is a 27-year-old, is from both Kelerakwa and Gabone villages in Central Province.

Since childhood, Faji has had her mind wrapped around becoming a lawyer one day.  However, she had no idea what reality had in store. All she ever learnt in school from Waigani Christian Pre-School, Grades 1-8 at Coronation Primary and 9-12 at Gordon Secondary School were completely opposite to the path she has taken.

Although she is not formally employed, Faji has supported her family financially and met some family needs using her personal savings generated from selling baked and fried goodies, green lollies (buai) and cigarettes at their front yard.

English scone was the first recipe that got me place my hands on the art of baking. My big brother’s wife, Elizabeth introduced me to baking. After a couple of attempts, it started developing into a hobby. However, it was not a regular activity. I baked whenever there were ingredients available.

I concentrated more on household chores and schoolwork”

After unsuccessfully leaving studies at the University of PNG in 2016, she decided to venture into job search. Having no idea that it was the beginning of the job-seeking phase.

“They say you just have to start somewhere, this was completely impossible for me. Hearing it made me think it was easy, but it was actually hard to attain. I had no work experience neither a tertiary qualification nor a colourful resume to fit the interest of any employer.”

From mid-2016 to the end of 2021, Faji found herself being one of the many jobless youths.

She was rejected in every job application and eventually accepted the fact and invested most of her free time in church programs and did volunteer work with mission organizations.

She never stopped brainstorming ways that would enable her to be financially stable as a young adult living under the care of her family.

Faji continued her bakery, operating from her family home at Telikom compound, Waigani and small sales to fulfill church commitments, support family, support herself and support the community when there was a need to assist.

“I began selling baked and fried goodies on the street and in November 2016, I received my first cake request. This was my very first cake made for a niece who had just graduated from primary school.

All the compliments and encouragements during the celebration made me realize that baking was actually my source of income.”

Afterwards, I frequently got requests from my family, my friends and even many others I did not know. So far, Faji has sold more than a hundred cakes to birthdays, anniversaries, wedding and engagement, farewells, more than 600 cupcakes, and sold out countless baked goodies during weekend sales and also supported church and other fundraisings.

After getting married in April, her and husband William moved to Summer Institute of Linguistics in Ukarumpa, Eastern Highlands Province. She aims to register her business and progress from there.

“I want my experience to be a testament that would give hope to young people who never got to formally complete their education and those who are tirelessly seeking for employment. Not that I have the light at the end of the tunnel shinning on me right now, but I am certain it will at an appointed time.”

Jasmine Iru