Let the sewing lessons begin
The first day of sewing training for over 100 Samoan women started yesterday with an opening ceremony at the Moanalisa Hotel.
Government representatives were joined by officials from the Embassy of China, including Chinese Ambassador to Samoa, Wang Xuefeng, for the opening.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, Afamasaga Palepua Mulitalo, highlighted why the training is important.
“This is an opportunity for the women to develop themselves socially, financially, to have the skills to sew for their own families and become more economically sustainable in the long run,” she said.
Afamasaga said her only concern had been the maintenance of the machines going forward, and was pleased to see the maintenance skills included in the training workshops.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Upu Tuanai Uesile from Magiagi said she felt privileged to take part.
“This programme has already made a great difference to the families and communities of the women involved last year. We recognise it costs a fortune to run a program like this, and we intend to get the full benefits of it.”
The programme to teach women to sew children’s, women’s and men’s clothes will take place in Faleapuna, Afega, Magiagi, Tooa Salamasina and Safotu.
Eighty of the women will learn to use pedal sewing machines, while 20 will be trained on more advanced electric machines. While 20 women have been selected as the main participants in each village, Liu Peng of the Chinese Embassy said he expects more will join in the workshops and the impact will be far greater.
Chinese Ambassador Wang Xuefeng told the women China was happy to support their economic development. He also honoured the trainers and technicians who travelled from China to prepare and run the training sessions.
“In the past week, they have worked together day and night to assemble all the sewing machines, sometimes late into nights or during weekends, in order that all the machines could be assembled and ready for use in time for the training program,” Mr. Xuefeng said.
He said he had been touched to see how the people in the villages had prepared for, and welcomed the Chinese teams to their homes to prepare for the training, sharing their food and carrying equipment to the buildings.
“The touching moments between Chinese and Samoan people were captured by a journalist team from China Central Television (CCTV), the biggest official television station in China,” he said.
“The special feature TV programme will be scheduled to be broadcast both in China and in the world through CCTV’s international channels and billions will be able to see the kind hearts and warm hospitality of Samoan people.”