Unemployed and divorced, Luisa Siaosi is an independent mother who’s learned to raise her seven kids on her own.
The 46-year-old mother from Satitoa used to live with her ex-husband’s family in Savai'i for 13 years. In 2012, she separated with her husband and moved back to her village in Satitoa, Upolu, while carrying her youngest child.
Even inside her home, according to her, she was looked upon with disapproving eyes because of her situation. Ms. Siaosi said before she used to receive money from her ex-husband, who was employed. She said back then she used to have a stable income.
“I was very sad because even my very own blood treated me insignificantly compared to when I had something before, they looked down upon,” she said.
Ms. Siaosi lived a struggling life, having to look for her and her children’s food every day.
“I took my kids to school even though I knew I had no money to pay for it, so I decided to take matters into my hands and try to find a way to earn a living,’’ said Ms. Siaosi. Fortunately for her, she used her God-given talents to try and earn a living. Ms. Siaosi shared that her knowledge and sewing skills were self-taught. She said it was through taking apart a certain blouse and figuring out how to put it all back together that helped her learn the basic skills of sewing.
“I would charge $30 for one puletasi with the assistance of my eldest son who paints the designs on the materials. So that is how I started to make a living,” she added.
Ms. Siaosi said when the Nofotane project was brought to her village, she had first hesitated to register, but it was her pastor’s encouragement that pushed her.
She said she had so many options available through the programme, but she ended up choosing design and print.
“I depend on my printing materials. I’m also a seamstress and with orders coming from not only the villagers, but also the church youths, they help with our daily expenses. If I have enough, I would give some money to my family members,” she added.
Ms. Siaosi says despite the struggles of life, she feels truly happy and is grateful to God for the blessings in her life.