Sharing experience in empowerment of women

20 January 2016, 12:00AM

Wang Xuefeng
Ambassador Extraordinary 
and Plenipotentiary of the 
People’s Republic of 
China to the 
Independent State of Samoa
Remarks at Safotu, Savai’i


Approached by Polataivao Manutagi Tiotio, A.C.E.O of Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture four months ago for the application of the financial support for Safotu E.F.K.S Women Fellowship Sewing Project, the Chinese Embassy has been supportive to this application and has engaged in the implementation of the programme through allocating funds ever since. 

And today with great pleasure I come with my wife and my other Embassy colleagues to Safotu village in Savaii to attend the donation ceremony. 

I am so glad to see the smiling faces of women and girls in the village who from now on will be able to have a new way of making a living with the sewing machines that we have donated.

Rural women often face many challenges including limited access to education, job opportunity and health care, yet they are vital to each family in taking care of family members and helping support family financially. 

Empowerment of women has been listed as one of the Millennium Development goals. Chinese Embassy is happy to play a part in the initiative of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture in improving the livelihood of the community by supporting rural women to learn practical skills and stand on their own foot in taking care of their families and communities.

As the world’s largest developing country, China strongly sympathize with predicament faced by rural women in Samoa. 

With considerable regional imbalance in economic, social and cultural development, China also faces similar serious problems especially in the western part of the country where the natural condition are harsh and economic development is relatively backward. 

Many girls have to drop out of school and many women have to soil and toil all year round but still struggle to make a living. 

Since three decades ago, Chinese government has implemented effective projects/programs nationwide through enlisting help from all walks of life in helping rural girls and women in obtaining educational opportunities, solving practical problems in daily water supply and financial difficulty. The Spring Buds Project and Mother Cellar Project are among the most effective projects nationwide. 

Beginning in 1989, initiated by All China Women Federation and China Children and Teenagers’ Fund, Spring Buds Project aims to help rural girl who have no access to education or have to drop out of school due to various reasons. 

Through enlisting financial support from individuals and enterprises who are encouraged to assuming more social responsibilities and whose charitable deeds are rewarded by naming the Spring Bus Schools after individuals’ own names and enterprises’ names, Spring Buds Program has helped around 2 million rural girls in 30 provinces all over China to have continuous access to over 600 Spring Buds Schools and has provided such vocational training as sewing, embroidering, weaving, handicraft-making for more than 40 thousand rural girls so that they could support themselves and their families and communities through hard working with their own hands and practical work skills. 

In 2014, Madame Peng Liyuan, China’s first lady, was named “UNESCO Special Envoy for the Advancement of Girls’ and Women’s Education” in recognition of her “commitment in empowering girls and women through quality education”. 

Mother Cellar Project is another nationwide project initiated by China Women’s Development Fund in 2001 which helps rural women in fighting against lack of daily water supply especially in remote and out-of-place mountainous areas in western China. 

By building water cellars to reserve rainwater for daily use with the help and donations from individuals and enterprises, this project has helped relieving millions of rural women from extremely difficult task of water-fetching for daily living. Up to now, over 12,800 water cellars and more than 1500 basic rainwater collecting systems have been built in rural areas and have benefited around 2 million people.   

During the four months of my living here since I came to Samoa in September, 2015, I have visited many villages and I have the pleasure of meeting and talking to many local people. 

And I feel very happy to know that Samoan Government also attaches great importance to advancement of education of all children including girls and also put great emphasis in empowerment of women. Many women’s organizations at all levels have been making consistent efforts in helping and supporting women in playing more and more important roles in the development of families, communities and society as a whole. 

China would like to share with Samoa in the experience in empowering rural girls and women so that our two countries could learn from each other. Chinese Embassy also would like to cooperate with concerned departments of Samoan government as well as various women’s organizations in carrying out more exchange programs with All China Women Federation and China Children and Teenagers’ Fund and other women’s organizations at various levels so that they could get inspirations and learn from each other.  

Girls are future mothers and mothers are vital to human development. Females play unneglectible roles in sustainable development of families, communities and society. As Chairman Ma Zedong of China says, “Women can hold up half the sky”. We give our sincere wishes to the significant cause of empowering women in Samoa so that Samoan women could also hold up half the sky.  

20 January 2016, 12:00AM

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