Women survivors of domestic violence complete empowerment programme

A Saletagaloa woman weaving a fine mat inside the new community hall

A Samoan woman weaving a fine mat

APIA: TUESDAY 04 MARCH 2014: They came as shy and insecure individuals, but went home empowered with livelihood skills, a sense of self worth and confidence in their strides that makes four (4) weeks of training rewarding for Samoa Victim Support Group and Canada Fund (New Zealand).

“These were the visible signs of a successful livelihood program for women survivors of violence and women at risk, all around Upolu and Savaii,” said the Samoa Victim Support Group in a press statement today.

With three weeks in Upolu and the fourth and final week in Savaii, the training team for the program mobilized the livelihood program in central villages gathering nearby women survivors of violence and women at risk from around those particular districts.

The final week in Savaii saw the training team carrying out trainings right through early evenings in some of the districts, as requests for additional sessions were received from the women survivors of violence themselves.  The practicality of the livelihood skills being taught such as commercial cooking with pork buns, German buns and donuts, elei printing for lavalava, sheets for guests and church tables and pulpit, flower arrangements and veggie gardening are all skills the women survivors of violence and women at risk could easily learn and put into use not only for their families, but most importantly, to earn income to sustain themselves further.

As the training team was heading towards the next district in Savaii on their third day, they witnessed one of the participants to their training the previous day, selling chicken buns, donuts with jam as well as german buns in front of her house to students walking to school.  It was a blessing to see this women survivor with so much excitement as busied herself tending to the many young buyers to her stall.

With all the training sessions ending with a small business skills presentation, some of the women survivors of violence and women at risk who have started small businesses of their own contributed through testimonies on how the program have transformed themselves from low self esteem individuals to confident women standing up for themselves and their children.  Most of these women are now earning income from selling pork buns, donuts and german buns around the small shops and street vendor sales within their villages.  The popularity of the livelihood program saw requests from villages both in Upolu and Savaii for additional livelihoods trainings.

The difference that we are witnessing in the confidence of these women survivors of violence and women at risk speaks volume for the successful completion of the livelihood empowerment program courtesy of Canada Fund (New Zealand).

SVSG President Mrs. Lina Chang acknowledges with gratitude and appreciation the continuous financial support from Canada Fund (New Zealand), that enabled SVSG to implement these support programs for our community in need.