Children with disabilities bring the wow factor to handicrafts Open Day

Families and friends of children with disabilities came together to celebrate and witness the wonderful and brilliant handiwork by students with disabilities at an Open Day on Friday held at Marist Brothers Primary School, Mulivai. 

The Samoan handicrafts included handmade miniature Samoan fales, paintings, portrait carving, canoes, tanoas, orator staffs, necklaces (ula), sei, design cloths, eleis (ie lavalava), and various other creations. 

A schoolteacher, Max Tofilau, of Fiamalamalama spoke to this newspaper and said the handiwork was unbelievable. 

"The children who are in the older class created all these things that are being displayed... Our part as teachers, we just give them instructions and tell them how to do this or how to do that, but it’s them that put it in to action and made it work," said Tofilau.

"I can say that there are handicrafts here that us, people without any illness or disability can’t do. But these children, it is an exciting time for them to create different things. When they make an ula, it takes one day or two days to complete.

"There are four children who make the elei, and if they elei a curtain, a table sheet, bed sheet, it can be done inside two days."


Tofilau said 12 children - 9 boys and 3 girls - were responsible for all the handicrafts and they showed a lot of passion and creativity in their work. 

Samoa observer also spoke to Rina Satala Sa’u of Apolima Uta and Sapunaoa, who is a Vocational Teacher at Loto Taumafai. She said the Open Day showed the greatness of God and His blessings upon the children.

"The wonderful handiwork that we have seen and show today [Friday] for the public to witness was made by the children with disabilities themselves, together with the help from the staff," said Sa'u. 

"The boys worked on their carvings, building and painting of different objects, but the girls worked on making women's products like bags, towels, and others. Today you see the greatness of God and His blessings upon these children, as they fulfill their dreams with what they did over the past few weeks. They normally complete big work within 4 to 5 weeks, and are very talented like people without disabilities."


Teachers and students of SENESE, Fiamalamalama and Loto Taumafai all agreed that they would like to see more people attend their Open Day and buy their handiwork. 


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