Sewing course gives people with disabilities a start in business

Fifteen people with disabilities have learnt how to sew and been given sewing machines enabling them to start their own businesses after five days of training at the Monalisa Hotel in Vaitele.

The training programme was overseen by Nuanua o le Alofa (N.O.l.A) in partnership with the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (S.P.E.C), and the Civil Society Support Program (C.S.S.P). 

The course was designed to address poverty among disabled people in Samoa and enabling students to make contributions to their communities and churches.

On Friday the training was declared a success and an example of people with disabilities succeeding betterment through education, according to the president of N.O.L.A, Mataafa Faatino Utumapu.

“They’ve sewed a lot of pieces already and they have got themselves some sewing machines and there’s also a plan to extend the help for people with disabilities,” she said.

Participants yesterday proudly displayed their sewed pieces at the Monalisa Hotel.

Faala Tiatia, who is 28 years old, told the Samoa Observer she was proud to have spent the week learning a new skill.

“I stopped going to school at College and, from then, I stayed at home and looked after my family and now, I finally found myself an unexpected dream,” she said.

Seven of the participants are from Savai'i with eight from Upolu.

The first training session on Monday focused on the theory of how to start a business and an introduction to the sewing machines. After the training concludes on Friday, each participant will put theories into practice and go home with their new sewing machines.

Some students face additional challenges. Tina Taofia, a 28 year old from Salelologa Savaii and Vaitele, who lost her arm to cancer in 2017 finds straightening cloth difficult but says her passion helps guide her through.  

"I was so passionate about sewing and before when I had both my strong hands, I always helped my [mother] who is a very talented woman in sewing and so I help her most of the time and at the same time I felt so addicted and passionate for sewing," she said.

"Until this happened to my hand, I though I couldn't do anything anymore but thankfully to this training, I have learned that I can still make something out of myself even with just one arm."

However, yesterday, she was blessed with the gift of a sewing machine after gaining her the equipment she needed to pursue her ambition. 

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