The main component of the sustainability project for the nofotane earners, (self-esteem workshops) for the Canadian Government sponsored project under the Canada Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI), kick started late October with 25 earners from 3 villages at the eastern side of Apia, namely Vaiusu, Nuu Fou and Aele.
This was following the identification of the eligible nofotane earners for the program, the sourcing out of mentors from the network of SVSG village representatives to provide mentorship to the earners, the discussions with local and overseas markets for the earners products, the training of trainers for the self-esteem program and the identification of suitable inspirational speakers for each sessions.
The trainer of the first session was none other than the SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang, who started with an overview of the project and its goal of sustainable income generation activities, and how the project goal ties up to one of the overaching goals of SVSG’s work, which is to address violence against women.
The whole self-esteem workshop titled SHINE, was marked by living testimonies shared by the nofotane earners and even their husbands on the positive changes and the impact of women empowerment in their families; on forgiviness in areas of nofotane women’s past; on knowing their value and their worth as nofotane women.
It has been inspiring that even the inspirational speaker, Mrs. Atelina Tuiletufuga Hunkin-Mamea of Apia, was speechless. This was because she related very well to the story of hardship, of endurance and of empowerment as shared by the earners, as she herself started from planting 4 coconut seeds which now grows to a floral arrangement, fabric printing and sewing business to support her family. Mrs Hunkin-Mamae shared that without being honest and having faith in ones ability to soar higher, a new business venture will surely fail.
Out of the 25 nofotane earners who attended the workshop, 80% have already opened Savings Account with the local financial institutions. This is an achievement for the financial literacy component of the workshop as the newly self-employed women have learnt the basics in starting a business, and have progessed on to put aside saving for rainy days.
Four of the nofotane earners who have been trained by SVSG to assist with the project implementation in village communities, attended the first session, to learn and to be inspired from the stories as shared by the participants.
One of the most important aspects worth noting from the first session was the fact that as more and more nofotane earners shine with empowerment, the less violence being reported from their village communities.
“A nofotane woman will always be a nofotane; the project is not attempting to change this aspect of our culture, but merely aims to ensure sustainability of being empowered because a strong, proud and successful community does not tolerate any form of violence against women.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
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