Alan Ah Mu
APIA: MONDAY 20 JANUARY 2014: An aid project that built shelters for families worst hit by Cyclone Evan produced budding carpenters in the process.
The multi-donor project included an offer for 15 locals to be trained as carpenters by Australia Pacific Technical College (APTC).
Of the 15 students picked and who completed a first phase training two were women. Mrs. Ioana Lanuola Mariota was one of them.
“You know, any job a man can do a woman can do too,” Mrs. Mariota said.
Over 200 applied for the training opportunity, she said. The successful applicants were selected from villages most damaged by Cyclone Evan that struck in December 2012.
Mrs. Mariota and Fa’amalologa Taseni represented the students at the launch of a video of the reconstruction project – hosted by the Australian High Commission.
The students and APTC staff worked in Lefaga, Siumu and Safata in the south west of Upolu Island in partnership with Adventist Disaster Relief Agency (ADRA) to build over 200 shelters/fales.
Having passed the Certificate II in Construction all 15 students worked for eight weeks at Schwartz Construction in building the Samoa Hockey Stadium in November – December last year.
All have been offered ongoing paid work with Schwartz Construction from this month.
“The most important outcome of the programme is the opportunity the students now have to support their families as they have international standards in the carpentry trade,” said APTC country manager, Francis Howes.
“The students have worked with ADRA to rebuild over 200 fales,” Ms Howes said.
“You can see that the students are both proud and humbled by their achievements and they now walk tall with straight shoulders – they are … able to support their families in this way,” she said.
The students have been offered a further 15 weeks training in Fiji from July in the Certificate III in carpentry – the same qualification that apprentice carpenters in Australia complete.
Funds from the Australia government to APTC provided all training costs, tool kit and safety equipment for each student, tuition fees, books, recourses, uniforms, daily lunch, stationery kit, carpentry trainer from Fiji, tutor from Samoa, as well as a weekly paid allowance.