Nofotane women share success stories
‘Nofotane’ women from Savaii have shared their stories of overcoming physical and emotional abuse to being income earners.
Nofotane is the term given to women that live at their husband's families.
The women shared success stories in the ninth workshop session of the Sustainable Income Generation and Self-Employment of Nofotane Women project at Tufutafoe Savaii.
The project is currently being rolled out and led by Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.) and funded by the European Union. Sharing ideas and success stories is one of its key outcomes.
The session was well attended by women participants from the villages of Falelima, Falealupo and Tufutafoe and led by the S.V.S.G.
In attendance also was the Civil Society Support Programme (C.S.S.P.) Programme Manager, Christina Tauā.
According to a statement issued by S.V.S.G., Ms. Taua witnessed for herself the emotions expressed by each woman whose lives had been transformed by the programme.
One of the speakers, Ataga’i Maiava Simone of Tufutafoe, brought the participants to tears as she shared her experience of what it means to be a nofotane woman.
She said she was basically a family slave, at the beck and call of everyone in the extended family, not just her husband and children.
Mrs. Simone would wake up to domestic duties in the plantation and the cooking and go to bed only after the kitchen was clean.
Despite the hard life, she endured it all because of her love for her husband. She also shared that the programme had transformed her life.
Mrs. Simone not only secured a sustainable income for her family, but more importantly, self-confidence to actively participate and have a voice in the village women’s committee and church women’s fellowship.
Another speaker, 66-year-old Salafai Maiava Esau of Tufutafoe, proudly showed the participants her bank account with the Samoa Commercial Bank where she is now saving the profit from selling cocoa.
From subsistence farming to commercial farming, Ms. Esau continues to learn the basics in maintaining her small business.
Other participants shared the stress of sleepless nights from overthinking about how to provide for their family’s next meal as an unemployed mother.
Others experienced depression and anxiety as a result of being belittled by their husband’s families simply because they are nofotane women which have taken a toll on most of these women.
From learning how to manage their finances to looking after themselves physically and mentally, the programme emphasises the value of shared experience.
The S.V.S.G. President, Siliniu Lina Chang, thanked the European Union through the C.S.S.P. Programme for the financial support that has enabled the programme to continue.