Woman welder smashing stereotypes
Twenty-year-old Alofa Fata from Afega is the first female student to select Welding as her chosen path for her last two years at Don Bosco Technical College, Alafua.
"For me, the reason why I entered this course is because I know there are other fields which my brothers are currently working in like electrical.
"So it is just right for me to change my course, to steer away from what my brothers are doing because every person has a God-given talent.
"That is why I wanted to take this, because I am very passionate about it means that when I graduate I will be able to support my family out," she said.
Miss Fata did not dream of becoming a welder until she entered the gates of Don Bosco in 2019, and was introduced to different opportunities that were now available to her.
"I actually aimed to be a teacher before I entered this school, I was introduced to so many courses and it changed my whole perspective on what I actually want to be when I graduate."
Hearing talk about welding being a man's job, Fata said she ignored the idle gossip as she believes a girl can do whatever a boy can do.
"This is not a man's job. I believe whatever the boys can do I can do too.
"For instance, if you go to our homes, boys can do our work as ladies, so if the boys can do that, why can't we girls do it?
"It is also one of the reasons why I was motivated to join this department. There are certain people that look at me and are saying things about me taking up this course, especially when it is supposedly not meant for girls.
"But I am not doing this for the people, but for me and my own future," she said.
She had some advice for any girl or woman who might be interested in taking up welding as a career path, but feels hindered by people telling them it is a man's job.
"Don't listen to the gossips and just follow whatever your heart is telling you to do, and wherever your mind is."
Speaking of her challenges at school, she told the Samoa Observer that she trying her best to excel and do well at her chosen trade.
"There are times where some boys have that disrespectful attitude in the way they speak, but there are also boys who know how to talk to a lady, respect me as their sister, so it is not really a challenge to be the only girl in the class.
"There are times that I didn't want to use the machines especially the machines that use electricity. But the brothers usually help me out in doing the hard tasks because I know there are things that I can do and there are things I cannot do," she said.
"But I still strive to do everything, so with the things that challenge me, I observe and watch carefully on how it is done so that I am able to do it myself without being fearful of a mistake.
"My hopes and dreams for the future are to become a welder, and to help out anyone who is in need of my expertise. I want to be able to create big projects, and use my skills and knowledge from this school," she added.