Hard work pays off, celebrated
To achieve success, there are obstacles to overcome.
Peru Laeimau Tugaga knows this very well.
She created a milestone achievement for herself during the National University of Samoa graduation on Friday where she was the only student to graduate with a Masters of Education.
The mother of eight, from the village of Vaivase-Tai, lost her husband in 2012 and there was no better way to overcome her loss then focusing on becoming the best.
“I am like on top of the world, but I feel very humbled with my achievement. There was a lot of struggle but I made it,” Peru shared.
“Right now I do not want to look back at all the struggle because nothing good comes easy. You really have to go through hardships to get to the best.
“When my husband died it left a big hole, which I wanted to replace with education and it was a tough journey. The Lord has been so good to me,” said the 66-year-old.
One of the biggest challenges Peru faced during her studies was using technology.
“I am not good at using computers because I left Samoa College and went to New Zealand. When I was studying in Fiji, I really struggled with it, but I did a lot of computer training so I can deal with these challenges.
“At the same time I am training teachers and I wanted to get a Masters to show my students what I achieved that.
“Your students will concentrate on you when they know you are qualified not with just a Bachelor. So I wanted to show my students that I can do it.”
Peru explained: “I went to Suva, Fiji and I did my postgraduate studies there. When I got back in 2015, I took a course every semester. I did not want to take a break because otherwise I lose the grip of it.
“From then until now, I could feel how good it is now in 2018. I did all the family work as a parent and at the same time I trusted myself that I can achieve what I have set out to do.”
Being a single parent for six years and a lecturer at the National University of Samoa came naturally to her, Peru was very motivated.
“If you have a lot of kids, it is all part of teaching, you are a teacher, a mentor and you are a supervisor, so all of those small things helped me to master education.
“I was a businesswoman, I was a professional designer but everything changed when I had kids.
“Being a mother and a teacher is the same thing. The roles are very similar to the other.”
Peru is challenging every Samoan woman that nothing is impossible if they believe in themselves.
“I think every woman can do it and get qualified. Pick and choose whatever qualification you want here. Do not go far or go abroad when you can study here.”