The Nofotane women taking part in the self-esteem SHINE workshop
APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 06 NOVEMBER 2018: Twenty five women earners from 3 villages east of Apia have completed a self esteem workshop aimed at sustaining the nofotane earners families. The project is sponsored by the Canada Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI) and started late October with 25 women earners from Vaiusu, Nu’u Fou and Aele villages.
The project was designed to meet the needs identified of the eligible nofotane earners. It involved the sourcing out of mentors from the network of SVSG village representatives, the discussions with local and overseas markets for the earners products, the training of trainers for the self-esteem program and the identification of suitable inspirational speakers for each session.
The trainer of the first session was none other than the SVSG President, Siliniu Lina Chang who started with an overview of the project and its goal of sustainable income generation activities, and how the project goal ties up to one of the overaching goals of SVSG’s work, which is to address violence against women.
The self-esteem workshop titled SHINE, was marked by living testimonies shared by the nofotane earners and even their husbands on the positive changes and the impact of women empowerment in their families. These involved sensitive areas such as forgiveness of nofotane women’s past and knowing their value and their worth as nofotane women.
Inspirational speaker, Mrs. Atelina Tuiletufuga Hunkin-Mamea of Apia, was speechless. This was because she related very well to the story of hardship, of endurance and of empowerment as shared by the earners. She herself started from planting 4 coconut seeds which now grows to a floral arrangement, fabric printing and sewing business to support her family. Mrs Hunkin-Mamae shared that without being honest and having faith in ones ability to soar higher, a new business venture will surely fail.
Out of the 25 nofotane earners who attended the workshop, 80% have already opened Savings Account with the local financial institutions. This is an achievement for the financial literacy component of the workshop as the newly self-employed women have learnt the basics in starting a business, and have progressed on to saving for rainy days.
Four of the nofotane earners who have been trained by SVSG to assist with the project implementation in village communities, attended the first session, to learn and to be inspired from the stories shared by the participants.
One of the most important aspects worth noting from the first session was the fact that as more and more nofotane earners shine with empowerment, the less violence being reported from their village communities.
According to the SVSG President, Siliniu Lina Chang,“A nofotane woman will always be a nofotane; the project is not attempting to change this aspect of our culture, but merely aims to ensure sustainability of being empowered because a strong, proud and successful community does not tolerate any form of violence against women.”