Close to hundred women, village leaders, husbands and children gathered at the Congregational Christian Chursh of Samoa Hall at Satitoa during the week, to partake in the first of a series of Self Esteem Workshops for the nofotane women conducted by the Samoa Victim Support Group,.
From learning management skills, to improved accessibility to markets, to fostering creativity and innovation through financial literacy, the workshop was well received by the self-employed nofotane women of Tiavea, Samusu, Satitoa, Ulutogia and Lalomanu.
The enthusiastic entrepreneurs brought their children to the workshop; some even brought their husbands. It was obvious that being a breadwinner in their families work wonders in improving the self-esteem of these nofotane women.
Smiling through tears, the participants shared their stories of change. And sustaianbe changes have been noted.
For 39 year old Sipuao Falelua of Samusu, she first attended the Nofotane Program with SVSG in 2017 where she was empowered with a business mind, not only to farm for subsistence living, but also as an income generating activity.
Sipuao talked about how she used to carry 50 packets of cucumber while walking from one village to the next, to sell them. Sipuao braved the rain and the sun for 2 years as a street vendor, until late 2019 when she had saved enough in her Bank Account with the Samoa Commercial Bank, to open a small shop infront of her house. She continues to work the land, but she now has a secured market through her small shop, selling a variety of goods, including produce from her garden.
The workshop is part of a 2-year project titled: Sustainable Income Generation & Self Employment of Nofotane Women. It is in this connection that SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledges the funding assistance for this project provided by the European Union (EU) through the Civil Society Support Program (CSSP).
Representatives from the Women In Business Incorporated (WIBDI) and the Samoa Commercial Bank (SCB) joined as SVSG’s partners in conducting the Self-Esteem Workshops for the self-employed nofotane women.
According to Siliniu, “What we have noticed this early into the Project is the support from a collective; the village leaders, the husbands, the children and the business community. While the project is to support the sustainable income generation of nofotane women, we are seeing how it is also leaving no one behind.”