Assistance for the sustainable income generation & self-employment of nofotane women in Smaoa continued with funding support from the Canadian Government under its Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) program.
Through the High Commissioner of Canada in New Zealand, a total of CAD30,000 has been granted to Samoa Victim Support Group, to continue its support for the newly self-employed nofotane women. These were the unemployed nofotane women who have been economically empowered under the 2-year project recently completed by SVSG and the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality.
Prior to the completion of the project with UN Women FGE, SVSG knew that it needs donor partners to assist with the sustainability of the project in the short term. Despite the lack of support from local donor agencies, SVSG continued to seek assistance from international donor partners.
The 6-months project with the CFLI will see nofotane earners from the UN Women FGE project, encouraged to continue with their small business ventures through self-esteem workshops, mentorship with village representatives, women to women support networks, opening savings accounts, and linkages to local and overseas markets. There will be 16 workshops conducted for the nofotane earners with inspirational speakers attending each of the sessions to further boost the nofotane women’s confidence.
And to ensure that its programs continued to be representative of the interests of the direct beneficiaries, trainers for the self esteem workshops have been recruited from the star earners themselves. These are nofotane women who have not only being trained as advocates for the economic empowerment of women in Samoa, but have also become succuessful entrepreneur since attending the Nofotane Project with UN Women FGE.
Exciting times are ahead for the nofotane earners, as SVSG continues to seek out funding to support the sustainability of their new business ventures. In the meantime, SVSG acknowledges the funding support from the Canadian Government through Nicolas Sabourin, High Commissioner of Canada in Wellington New Zealand, without which, SVSG will not be able to continue supporting the economically empowerment nofotane women.
The White Sunday this year was extra special for the abused and abandoned children at the Campus of Hope, as it was celebrated together with the children from the Seventh Day Adventist Church of Vaiusu.
Rather than going through the traditional White Sunday ritual of children performing for their parents, the children from the SDA church Vaiusu performed for the abused children under SVSG’s care at the Campus..
It was an initiative that saw children themselves joining the child protection work for the abused children. And what better day to begin this important partnership than on the children’s special day on White Sunday.
Led by Pastor Jordy & Puapuaga Salevao, close to 40 Sunday school children and teachers performed for the children; there was singing, dancing, recital of bible verses and skits.
Pastor Jordy encouraged the children that with God, there is always hope, and despite the different circumstances surrounding their being residence of the Campus, God has a plan for each and everyone of us as per Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
To wrap up the children’s celebration, Pastor Salevao presented a cheque of $1,500 as a gift from children of the SDA Vaiusu mission to the children of hope at the Campus.
Joining the group was the Director of the SDA Children and Women’s Ministries in Samoa, Pelenatete Siaki who liaised with SVSG in coordinating the White Sunday visit. Earlier this year in June, the SDA Children’s Ministry from Lalovaea also spent Sunday morning service with the children of hope.
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledged the partnership approach from the SDA Children’s Ministries towards child protection support for the abused children under SVSG’s care. “Thank you so much to the leaders of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Children and Women’s Ministries for coming on board to join the support network necessary for the rehabilitation of the abused and abandoned children of Samoa.”
Hundred pink seis, hand made by the children residence of the Campus of Hope were presented today to the Samoa Cancer Society. The pink sei donation is the children of hope’s contribution towards breast cancer awareness currently underway, as per the Pinktober 2018. Included also were pink ribbons to compliment the seis.
According to Mulipola Anarosa Molioo, who spoke on behalf of the SVSG Chair Georgina Lui, “this donation is from the hearts of the children of hope; it highlights their spirit of giving and their willingness to help.”
Mrs. Verona Parker was speechless as she accepted the donation on behalf of the Samoa Cancer Society.
“Thanks is a word we often use to express how we are appreciative of any donation or contribution but it’s a word worth using often because we are very thankful of these beautiful pink seis donated by children at the shelter and the thought behind the donation. Thank you very much,”
While SVSG’s work and that of the Samoa Cancer Society differs, our work share the same objective to support and to help the people of Samoa, because cancer, like violence, does not discriminate. It can happen to any of our loved ones; from our children to our fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers.
This was emphasized by Mulipola who highlighted the children’s donation being a sign of an NGO helping another NGO for the good of our people. “The Samoa Cancer Society like Samoa Victim Support are NGOs, and we all know that in order for an NGO to do its work, it needs all the support it can gather from the community.”
Mrs. Parker shared the same sentiments,commenting on how the office have been busy since the first day of October due to donations and contributions from different ministries, NGO’s, schools and the community, standing together to support those who are survivors of cancer and those who continued to fight the illness.
Last year, the SVSG Executive, staff and volunteers swapped their normal yellow uniform for pink, in support of the cancer awareness month. The support initiative will continue every Fridays for the month of October this year. SVSG believes that together, we can increase awareness on cancer, because like violence, cancer does not discriminate;
A Certificate of Appreciation was presented by Mrs. Parker of the Samoa Cancer Society to Mulipola, in appreciation of SVSG’s contribution towards Pinktober 2018.
An impromptu visit turned up at the Campus of Hope gates at Tuanaimato. The Office was not aware of any visitors on that day, and so as the Campus workers.
However, the Pastor’s wife, Selina Batiyaka, mothers from the women’s fellowship and youth members from the Assembly of God Harvest Centre at Lotopa, insisted on the visit as according to Mrs. Batiyaka, “we were given a mission by God to donate particularly to the children at the Campus of Hope.”
After the authorities at SVSG were notified and approved of the visit, the Campus was opened to the members of the AOG Lotopa who were amazed by the serene atmosphere as they walked through the gates, and were fascinated by the Campus as a whole.
But the most captivating moment was when the visitors met the children, whose faces beamed with welcoming smiles as if they knew all along that missionaries will be visiting them. The visit included sharing of testimonies from the visiting youths to encourage the children to remain strong; and was concluded in style when one of the Star Search winners for 2018, James Vito spoke to the children through singing.
Donations of food supplies were presented to assist SVSG with the daily caring for the children as part of the visitors mission. “We want you to know that you are very precious to God which is why He told us in our mission to visit you and donate towards your daily needs.” Mrs. Batiyaka
The AOG Lotopa’s visit continues the partnership SVSG establishes with various church communities throughout Samoa in support of the children of hope. It is a great reminder of God’s love which does not discriminate, but rather, encompass all of us as one.
“Thank you so much Mrs. Selina Batiyaka for continuing to support the work of SVSG. You have not only became one of the facilitators for the SVSG Advocacy Program for women, and now, you have led the women’s fellowship and the youth group of the Assembly of God Harvest Centre at Lotopa, to obey God’s mission for your congregation in this point in time. The children of hope appreciates all of you, and we as their carers, are grateful of your support.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President.
Turning darkness into the light of life was the theme the third year students of the Malua Theological College shared with the children at the Campus of Hope on Sunday.
It was a theme that guided the students missionary work with the children of hope, placing emphasis on how God has transformed the creation as per Genesis 1: 1:“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkeness was on the face of the deep ……..Then God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light.”
In leading up to the children’s special day as per the Annual White Sunday celebration, more than 20 third year students and their wives from the Malua Theological College spent the Sunday with the children at the Campus, as part of their ‘Faamasani’ or Practical Ministry program. It has been an ongoing program since it first started with SVSG in 2011.
And every year, the future church leaders educated at Malua have been innovative in their approaches with the children, and this year was no different. Everyone was allocated into 4 teams; the children the wives and the students. This is team building leading up to team work. Next, there were activities, presentations and talent quests, all as a team. From the children with disabilities to the toddlers to the older ones, everyone worked in a team and it was nothing short of hilarious. This is confidence building as part of community engagement.
For most of the students and their wives, this was the first time they have visited the Campus, and it showed. As mothers, the wives were holding the toddlers, others were on the floor working with the children through their paintings and drawings. Others, just observed in amazement at the transformation they saw on each child’s face, despite the darkness of the trauma each child must have endured. This is part of rehabilitation.
According to Reverend Filemoni Crawley, the Lecturer in Practical Theology who lead the visiting delegation, “We wanted to share with the children the love of God, as He wanted us to remind the children that His love will always be a shining light in our hearts.”
From morning until late afternoon, the fellowship continued. The wives hosted a delicious lunch and desert for the children followed by more singing and praising. Time is of the essence as the spirit of God moves amongst the fellowship; one of the experiences that both the children, the students and their wives will never forget.
To ensure that they have a contribution towards the children’s daily caring, donation of food and clothes were presented before a blessed day ended.
“Thank you so much Reverend Maafala Limā, Principal of the Malua Theological College for supporting the sustainability of the parternship between SVSG and the College. This is our collective responsibility towards the abused and the neglected among us. Thank you also to Rev. Filemoni Crawley for coordinating such an innovative program with the students and their wives. You have surely put on a special treat for the children for White Sunday.” Siliniu Lina Chang
The children survivors of violence and neglect under the care of Samoa Victim Support Group at the Campus of Hope, Tuanaimato, cheered the teachers on as they celebrated World Teachers Day this week.
While the request from the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, was to have the 26 contestants to the Teachers Day Pageant visit the Campus as part of the pageant program, the children congratulated the teachers in style.
The children danced and sang beautifully which brought the contestant to tears. Because despite the trauma and the horrific nature of the abuses they have endured, their smiles attest to God’s love through their healing.
This is the first year in which the Ministry has hosted a pageant amongst the teachers to celebrate World Teachers Day. And for all the contestants, this was the first time they have visited the Campus of Hope. A memory each of them will take back to their respective schools and shared with their students on the fact that despite the difficulties in life, there is always hope, as seen through the eye of the children of hope.
The teachers donated $200 and gift hampers for the children with an additional $310 collected from the teachers and the children’s entertainment.
“Thank you to the Chief Executive Officer of MESC, Afamasaga Dr. Karoline Afamasaga –Fuatai for including the children of hope in the Teachers Day celebration this year. Thank you also to the Assistant CEO Tauti Jenny Lauano for coordinating the visit.”
“To all the 26 contestants to the Inaugural Teachers Day Pageant 2018, you are all winners to the children of hope.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
The rehabilitation programs for the children survivors of abuse cared for at the Campus of Hope are geared towards what is in the best interest of each individual child. While some children are into singing, dancing, reading or gardening, others are more into sports. The latest success story being the Golden Girl Feagaiga Stowers in the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast earlier this year.
Today, a champion in baskeball, Brian Kerle of the Brian Kerle Baskeball Academy visited the Campus for the first time, with young basketall players from Brisbane Australia who are in the country as part of the Ball 4 Change Project by Jada Faanana Schultz and collegues back in Brisbane.
How Brian Kerle ended up at the SVSG office on a Friday afternoon during a scheduled meeting between SVSG and Jada on a different project, is beyond us. However, SVSG is certain that it was not by chance, because there was an immediate connection with the tall champion. In less than an hour, Brian Kerle knew enough about SVSG’s work to confirm his interest to lend a hand.
He started off being an inspirational speaker during the SVSG Tina Faufautua Program, as well as the SVSG Men’s Advocacy Program, for the court referred offenders of violence. In between basketball clinics, Brian Kerle will be seen at the SVSG office ready to spent some time with the young offenders.
The visit at the Campus of Hope reaffirmed Brian Kerle’s belief that “Things happen in our lives for a reason. Today is one of those. We will make it work.”
Promoting health and developing children through sports, the Ball 4 Change project will become one of the possible outlets for the abused children’s anger, hurt and disappointment with the different circumstances that affected their lives. Who knows, there might be some professional basketball players to be recruited from the Campus of Hope.
“Thank you so much Brian Kerle and the team for including a visit at the Campus as part of your schedule as well as the donated goods for the children. We look forward to seeing you all next year. Thank you also to Jada for reaching out to support this important part of SVSG’s work with the abused children, apart from your initial engagement with SVSG to support the newly empowered nofotane women.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
Staff members of the District Court Prosecution Division of the Attorney General’s Office visited the Samoa Victim Support’s office bearing donations of food, clothes, shoes and toys for the children survivor of violence cared for at the SVSG shelter facilities – the Campus of Hope.
Under the leadership of Silupevaelai Rexona Titi, the donation was put together by members of the District Court Prosecution Division, as a token of their appreciation for SVSG’s work in collaboration with them at the Family Court.
The work includes the application on behalf of the abused women and children for Interim Protection Orders, the shelter care, the counseling support, the transport to and from the shelters to the Police or the Attorney General’s office for interview; to the hospital for the required medicals.
According to a representative of the Division, Lupematasila Iliganoa Atoa, “SVSG does all its work for free, out of the goodness of your hearts, so here we are, presenting these goods, to show our appreciation of the work that you do.”
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledged the support from the District Court Prosecution Division of the Attorney General’s Office.
“Thank you for including the children survivors of violence cared for at the Campus of Hope, in your charity activity this week. We look forward to seeing you more often in these charitable occasions besides the usual collaborative work we do at the Family Court.”
Children of Hope reverberates ‘Mama Linas’ name in their hearts.
This was the testimony by Ms Kaylin Miller, who is a third year student at Loma Linda University, California. Ms Miller is currently studying for a Doctorate of Psychology.
While observing and assisting children at the School of Hope for two months, she shared about the constant referral by the children to Mama Lina, “We love Mama Lina; or Mama Lina is coming to see us.” ‘Mama Lina’ is what the children of hope called the President of Samoa Victim Support Group, Siliniu Lina Chang.
Ms Miller was amazed, “this was something I never experienced before, witnessing children longing for that “motherly love” all the time”.
“I know that I may be growing up in the States where love should be prioritized all the time, but hey, this is the first time I’ve felt the warmth of such love shared by these children through the guidance of “Mama Lina”, says Ms Miller.
Ms Miller was helping as a teacher aide at the School of Hope, and her psychology background was obvious as she dealt with each child with patient and encouragement.
And Ms. Miller has promised to return. “I will come back and work at SVSG.” In the meantime, Ms Miller is now ready to be one of SVSG’s ambassador in California, to raise awareness about SVSG’s work for the abused children and the need for assistance.
“I will take these memories with me while returning to my hometown and share it with my family, classmates and also tutors at Loma Linda University,” she concluded.
Nofotane – The Woman Behind the Product
Her role in the family is a servant. Her place is usually in the kitchen. She does not have a voice. She is the *nofotane woman. BUT! She is valuable; born a creator with a purpose in life. Empower her, and she will empower her family. It’s a hard fought battle, yet rewarding *Nofotane translates as ‘stay or live with husband’
A glimpse of the Nofotane Story is attached to all the products created by the empowered nofotane women, which are now shared by anyone who wears the products.
The most popular are the red lopa seeds sewn into lanyards, in addition to the hand printed materials (elei), sewn into bags, suitable for meeting, conferences, trainings and other similar occasions.
The latest were 400 participants to the Cutting Edge Conference held in New Zealand from 12 – 15 September 2018, who wore the popular lopa seeds, sown into lanyards by close to 20 self-employed nofotane women (2 from Manono-tai, 1 from Luatuanuu, 1 from Pata Falelatai, and more than 15 women from Foailuga Savaii).
It’s unique, it’s innovative, and it’s specific to the empowered nofotane women and their story of hardship, which makes their empowerment all the more rewarding.
Similarly in Samoa, the nofotane products will be worn by 50 participants to the Pacific Judicial Conference hosted by the Samoa Judicary from 24 – 28 September.
The products include lopa lanyards and printed handbags who will be worn by the 50 participants from New Zealand, Australia, United States of America, Papua New Guinea, Guam, Fiji, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Palau, Niue, Kiribati, the Solomon Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. The extent of the nofotane women’s story of empowerement will now reach the Pacific region through word of mouth, and through the products worn by the participants to these international conferences.
This is part and partial of the sustainability support Samoa Victim Support Group continues to provide for the newly self-employed nofotane women in Samoa.
President of SVSG Samoa