Training to empower young women begins

A workshop that aims to empower young women and features a collaboration between local group Brown Girl Woke and Auckland-based Sisters United opened yesterday. 

The workshop at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel in Apia is facilitated by Doris Tulifau of Brown Girl Woke fame, who has been campaigning to empower young women in Samoa for almost two years. The workshop will feature Sisters United from New Zealand as well as dance groups and choreographers.

In her opening remarks at the workshop opening yesterday, Ms. Tulifau introduced Sisters United NZ to the participants and spoke of the platforms that they will be using to highlight issues facing women. 

“So today is about introducing Sisters United New Zealand that incorporate dance, Spoken Word and their social skills to talk about issues woman have. So today is building a platform with other organizations like Sister United. I do programmes too but it is always great to learn from other organizations as well,” she said.

Sister United was founded by the Goebel sisters: Kendal Collins, Narelle Ngaluafe, and Parris Goebel.

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In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Kendal said the inspiration behind the establishment of Sisters United is to teach girls positive ways to express emotions, while promoting a shift away from depression and suicide. 

“We are trying to share positive ways for these girls to tell their stories and issues to turn themselves to creativity, like dance, music, art and poetry,” she added.

The workshop programme promoted various pathways of emotional expression, which include writing and poetry – using the five senses to figuratively describe an emotion. 

The other pathway was through dance, which was led by dance choreographers Ella Loheni Stancil and Brianna Fruean, who gave a demonstration on expressing emotion through dancing. 

“Not everyone likes presentations and speeches and that is why we thought dance was the perfect fit, we are Samoan and dancing is our language. 

“We are trying to teach and engrave it in their minds that they can learn and express many of their issues they face through dance, it’s impractical and rare. 

 “There is already women empowerment in Samoa and they are paving the way for women like us to speak up about our struggles and our dreams no matter,” Ella said. 

Doris said the event what a success as it attracted close to 50 people despite 25 registering. She thanked Tanoa Tusitala Hotel and Sheraton Hotel, All Things Sweet, Laupele, Café Ten, Sisters United NZ and Brown Girl Woke for their support. 

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