Craftswoman inspired by her late mother to give

A community project inspired by a mother's giving heart has set a $1000 donation target for the Samoa Cancer Society to coincide with the annual Pinktober breast cancer awareness month. 

The Agalelei Atu project by Lele Homestead is run by wife and husband team, Fetu Leiloanaisaua and Unasa Nomeneta Saili who credit the late Sa’ilele (Lele) Fepulea’i-Leapai for their new venture. 

Fetu, a mother herself, told the Samoa Observer that the Agalelei Atu project was inspired by her mother Sa'ilele's personal quote: “A simple act of kindness can change a person." 

"My mother, despite the fact we didn’t have much, would give what little we had to those in need," said Fatu. 

This was evident in the way she cared for the wellbeing of complete strangers, as Fatu recounted a time when her mother gave their shoes to others in need. 

"She stopped a taxi and asked us to give her our shoes, so she could give it to an old lady and a child who were walking barefoot.

“Those were the values she passed on to me and is the basis for this project." 

A year ago, Fatu revisited her mother's vision of various ventures to support those in need, and began building the Agalelei Atu project.

"She was always working on one business idea after another on the side, so that we could have enough to help anyone who comes to our house needing help."

With her mother's entrepreneurial spirit in mind, she saw how much exists in terms of local talent and resources, that could be tapped into to make a decent living.  

Lele Homestead is a variety shop of sorts, selling anything from crops to handicrafts and prints. They also import homemade jewelry from New Zealand. 

"My mum used to produce all sorts of products/goods but opportunities were limited," added Fetu.

Previously, producers and sellers were limited due to lack of opportunities and access markets and buyers. But that is now a thing of the past, according to the entrepreneur.

"Now that we are in a more privileged position, we have a heart to help those in similar situations. Help connect them to buyers that would want their products but are not aware of them, which from an infrastructure perspective is where Maua platform (an e-commerce app), which we are on, comes in. [It's] money directly into our local people's pockets. 

Fatu said the project was simply an opportunity to do good for the community. 

“I set a goal of $1000 total from sales I make. [For each sale] I donate $1 tala or $2 tala depends on the item price, to Samoa Cancer Society for their main event in October. 

“So we have enough time to reach my goal."

The couple were inspired to donate to the S.C.S. as they have relatives and friends who passed away from cancer, and they want to support the society through their project. 

"A lot of people we know have died from cancer, including close relatives and friends," said Fatu. 

"While there are people fighting and continuing to, this is a good time for us to be part of their faith journey by contributing to S.C.S., who have worked tirelessly to help our cancer patients.

"Cancer is a very deadly and expensive disease, with regards to treatment so any help would be good."

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