Learning new skills can eliminate family poverty

Samoan women can tackle poverty facing their families by believing in themselves and taking the first step to change the status quo.

Nofotane Project participant, Muliagatele Losalia Sila Alipapa, said participating in the project run by the Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.) was a decision that changed her life and put her in the driver’s seat.

“I faced a lot of difficulties and I believe that despite challenges thrown our way, we women must use it as a challenge to overcome, and become better versions of ourselves.

“Before I joined the project I was unemployed – my husband was the breadwinner of our family – and I was expected to do family chores, which is a Samoan tradition, due to my role as a Nofotane woman,” she said, in an interview with the Samoa Observer.

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The 48-year-old woman said it is possible to build a firm foundation for your family “with the bricks that others have thrown at you”. 

Following her training, she said she learnt how to do fabric printing and make handicraft, which is knowledge she didn’t have prior to joining the project. Acknowledging the role of the S.V.S.G. – in transforming her from being an unemployed mother to an income-generating wife – she said she wanted to help other women reach their full potential.  

“I want to help other women become empowered with skills that I have attained in order for them to have a source of income especially for those that are unemployed.

“I also advise all the women of Samoa that are without employment to do something for themselves to boost their self-esteem but especially tackle the problem of poverty,” she added.

But the journey wasn’t easy, Muliagatele said, as there had to be sacrifices including humiliation by other members of the family.

“There are so many opportunities out there, but it all starts with a decision to make a positive change, because I understand what it means to not have financial stability and you are easily humiliated by families.”

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