“Overcoming abuse doesn’t just happen; it takes positive steps every day. Let today be the day you start to move forward,” Assunta Harris.
This is the motto that sixteen-year-old Feagaiga Stowers is carrying with her as she steps out to the world despite what she had been through.
This weekend at Tuanaimato Gym 1 she has been nominated as one of the nominees for the Junior Sportswoman of the year during the SASNOC’s Sports Award.
She is a survivor of abuse who is housed by the Samoa Victims Support Group (S.V.S.G), Stowers is living proof that life is what you make it.
Having represented Samoa during the Commonwealth Youth Games last year, this time, she is preparing for the S.A.S.N.O.C’s event this coming Saturday.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Stowers said she is very humbled to be one of the nominees for this event and she did not expect that her journey would be a blessing despite all the hardship she went through.
“This is a chance for me to shine and to let all the children who are going through hardship that God will always find a way for you to shine,” she said.
“I never thought that I would be recognized by people, not in a million years and winning or not it doesn’t matter because this is just the beginning of something new for me.
“Entering in the weightlifting federation is the best choice that I have made and the people who helped me get to where I am today I will forever grateful.
“Mama Lina (Siliniu Lina Chang) for believing in me and taking care of me, my Coach Tuaopepe for taking me in as I am and seeing the potential in me.
“He didn’t look at my background, he didn’t look at my past but he focused on how I can become somebody in the future.”
Stowers believed that whether she wins an award or not it will not bother her because her journey has just begun.
“There are so many opportunities that lie ahead for me and this is just the beginning so I am looking forward to this event and many others that follow,” she said.
“I have been through so much in life. Not being able to be with family is the saddest thing and with everything that I have been through, I used to think my life didn’t mean anything.
“It was so hard for me to open up to anyone, I had a very hard time trusting people and I guess the only person that I trusted was our Mama Lina.
“I used to be afraid of the outside world and I thought that everyone was just as evil as the people who hurt me.
“[But] I was wrong. I was pushed by Lina to try out weightlifting and so I did and at first I was shy and then I got to train with Tuaopepe and I saw how amazing it is to be noticed and appreciated by people and that really cheered me up.
“So coming in here has made me realise that what happened in past is the past but it is up to us to choose which pathway to take, it is up to us whether we dwell on the past or start a new beginning for our own self.
“[And] I chose to start a new beginning for me and so I am blessed to say God has chosen someone like me to be recognized by the world.
“He has really blessed my life despite what I have been through, and that will be my living testimony to the rest of the world.”
Stowers, 16, hails from Faala, Savai’i.
She won a silver medal at the Samoa Commonwealth Youth Games 2015 and she also won Best Junior Female cup at Samoa National Championships on the same year.