Stories of empowered nofotane
As the livelihood training of nofotane women continues in village communities, Samoa Victim Support Group, in partnership with UN Women Fund for Gender Equality, will share with you ‘The Empowered Nofotane Women Stories’
These are the stories of nofotane women who have completed livelihood trainings with the project, and have started income generating activities to support not only themselves, but also their families and their village communities.
Each story tells of the different gender equality issues faced by these nofotane women.
However, what the nofotane women behind the stories have in common is restored self-esteem, from being empowered women.
For this week, we feature stories from some of the empowered women of the Safata, Lefaga & Faleaseela constituencies:
At 63 years of age, Akenese Pauli of Tafitoala never dreamt that she will be able to contribute financially to her family’s wellbeing.
Not until she joined the livelihood training session at Safata, and realized that even at her age, she can help her family financially, from the comfort of her own home. Weaving table mats and traditional entertainment costume (kiki), she is now selling these to the tourists at nearby hotels.
Valasi Tuala of Safaatoa is an outdoor mother. She is unemployed. When the advocacy training for SVSG village representatives reached Lefaga in August 2016, Valasi attended and found out about the livelihood training that will be implemented in 2017.
For the last 12 months, Valasi worked on her flower garden. She attended the livelihood training and mastered the art of flower arrangement. Today, Valasi is one proud nofotane woman, earning an income from her arranged flowers for funerals, weddings and other occasions in her village and nearby villages.
One year before I am entitled to the older people’s pension, I am now earning from the works of my own hands through making colorful sei. I learnt this skill from the Nofotane livelihood training I attended. My children have all grown up, and I helped my husband put our children to school through fishing.
I wish I was empowered earlier so that I could have helped my children with their education better. Nevertheless, it is better late than never. The goal of the project is for nofotane women of Samoa to have improved access to sustainable employment and increased participation in domestic and community matters.
Livelihood training is a step towards achieving this goal. “A nofotane woman will always be a nofotane; the project is not attempting to change this cultural aspect of the FaaSamoa.
The project merely aims to improve the economic empowerment of women and to increase their participation in domestic and community matters, as these are some of the most important contributing factors to achieving gender equality.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President.