The journey from being unemployed to becoming breadwinners of families is possible.
That was the crux of the testimonies of Nofotane women from Faleaula, Afega, Tuanai, Leauvaa, Levi, Lotosoa and Salepouae Saleimoa, who gathered recently at a self-esteem workshop facilitated by the Samoa Victim Support Group, as part of the Canada Fund for Local Initiative project.
The women shared on the challenges they faced as unemployed people, and how their status changed when they were empowered to be become the breadwinners for their families and began that journey.
Sina Sola from Faleula, who was a star earner in the previous project with the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality, said she was passionate about working the land.
“I kept on asking God to help me with vegetable gardening because I had a passion working the land, and I assure you, this is the main source of income for me and my family at the moment,” she said in a statement.
Matiu Fatu of Utualii, 83, who was the inspirational speaker at the event yesterday, encouraged women to use their talents to shine.
“No matter if you are a gardener, a weaver or a tailor, all those talents are from God and all we have to do is to make them shine so that others will benefit from it, while it earns you an income.”
Penina Fruean of Levi Saleimoa is another woman who now earns a living by selling wreaths made out of dried banana leaves, flower arrangement, elei (printed material) and sewing.
Orders have increased for her products and she challenged the workshop participants “to work hard and never give up hope because you reap what you sow.”
Samoa Victim Support Group president, Siliniu Lina Chang, said the project also strives to address gender-based violence while empowering women to become successful.
“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,” she said.