The 17th livelihood training for the Nofotane Project which was centered at Matafufu included Vavau and Lotofaga, once again highlighted the expansion of the project reach to include faiava (married men living with wife’s family) and youth, making up 29% of the participants.
While the project focus is on the improved access to sustainable employment and the economic empowerment of nofotane women, the continuous expansion of the project reach beyond the most vulnerable group of women to include unemployed married men and youth is the uncalculated effect of the economic empowerment component of the project. To SVSG, this uncalculated effect of the project is part of the holistic approach the organization is taking to address family violence through encompassing the whole family in its program.
The majority of the participants were unemployed nofotane women at 71%, and similar to the previous training sessions, the participants were not only empowered economically through livelihood skills such as elei printing, commercial cooking, flower arrangement and handicraft, but also socially, through the self-esteem module SHINE, which is now proven popular with the nofotane women.
New products produced by the nofotane women during this 17th session included woven fruit bowls which are now earning the women a source of income. The creativity of the nofotane women is commended for it highlighted their willingness to learn and be innovative in their approaches to earning an income for their families.
According to Rev. Faasalafa Alaovae of the Congregational Christian Church Matatufu “it is rewarding to see the women learning a skill and earning an income from the products they produced, for it contributed a lot to their families’ welfare.”
With the continuous expansion of the project reach at this stage to include unemployed faiava and youth, the SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang is grateful that the uncalculated effect of the project is benefiting other members of the community besides the nofotane women. However she still maintains that “A nofotane woman will always be a nofotane; the project is not attempting to change this cultural aspect of the FaaSamoa. The project merely aims to improve the economic empowerment of women and to increase their participation in domestic and community matters, as these are some of the most important contributing factors to achieving gender equality.”
“Leaving no one behind” sums up the 15th livelihood training session for the economic empowerment of nofotane women at the Falealili constituency as part of the SVSG and the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality project currently underway. Centered at the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints Tafatafa, the training catered for women from eleven villages of Salani, Siuniu, Salesaele, Sapunaoa, Malaemal, Satalo, Tafatafa, Matautu-uta, Vaovai, Poutasi and Saleilua.
While m ore than 100 participants were unemployed nofotane women, twice as many who crowded the training hall were the church ministers, village leaders, husbands and children supporting the nofotane women on. The ripple effect to the community of the economic empowerment of nofotane women will see families husbands and wives each other, and the people of Falealili knew this as the community came on board to offer their support.
Mothers attended the training with their children. The village leaders hanged around the hall playing the guitar while the church ministers watched on.
Having husbands attending the livelihood training with their wives was something the project did not anticipate, yet, this shows the successful advocacy role, played by the SVSG village representatives, who have been advocating to the village, church and family leaders, to support the economic empowerment of nofotane women. This is a step towards changing mindsets, an important requirement for the goal of the project to be achieve d.
The four main skills of commercial cooking, fabric printing, handicraft and flower arrangement continued to be the focus of the livelihood training. The self-esteem module has become a favorite as the nofotane women were reminded of their worth, their purpose and their strength. The last day saw a celebration of the nofotane women being economically empowered hosted by the church and village leaders and the children through dancing, singing and light refreshments. At the end of the day, it is the community that benefits as the Falealili livelihood session highlighted the benefit of being economically empowered in leaving no one behind.
For the project, its goal remains that “a nofotane woman will always be a nofotane; the project is not attempting to change this cultural aspect of the FaaSamoa. The project merely aims to improve the economic empowerment of women and to increase their participation in domestic and community matters, as these are some of the most important contributing factors to achieving gender equality.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
As the spirit of thanksgiving brought about by the Christmas season touches each and every one of us, Samoa Victim Support Group wishes its family of supporters from the churches, the government, the village leaders, the family leaders, and the business community a Merry Christmas and a Safe Festive Season.
We look back and feel amazed by the amount of work we have accomplished this year; the lives we have saved and the difference we have made in our people’s lives. It is a humbling but blessed feeling.
But it is not unto us, but to God be the glory for all that we have done as His servants.
Thank you so much Samoa for your belief, for the unwavering support, for words of encouragement, for a pat on the back, a shoulder to lean on. It has been anything but smooth sailing, but it has been worth it. The smile on our children’s faces at the Campus of Hope reminded us why we are here. We Support. We Help. We Care. We are your Family.
Just a gentle reminder to all our families to be safe and enjoy the festive season with humility. Remember our 24 hour free help line number 800-7874 to call whenever in need. Our main office in Apia will be closed on 25 and 26 December and will resume work again on 27 December.
On behalf of the SVSG Patron, Honorable Tuisugaletaua Sofara Maposua Aveau & Faletua, SVSG Chair Mrs. Georgina Lui and the Board, SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang & the Executive, the SVSG Global Aiga Directors and members in Auckland, Christchurch, Sydney, Queensland, Melbourne and in American Samoa, last but not the least, the Children at the Campus of Hope, we wish you Samoa a blessed festive season in God’s grace.
We Support. We Help. We Care. We are your Family. This is Samoa Victim Support Group’s motto and this is who we are.
Today marked the official closing of the 2017 SVSG Advocacy Program for offenders of violence referred from the Family Court for counseling, until January 2018. As a family, we came together in prayer of thanksgiving to celebrate positive behavioral changes for close to 30 men and women continuing with the SVSG Advocacy Program into 2018.
And the celebration was a Christmas Breakfast enjoyed at the SVSG Conference room, attended by the facilitators of the program, the Champions of violence themselves, the SVSG President and staff.
A total of 139 men and women have been referred from the Family Court to the SVSG Advocacy Program for 2017. This takes the total number of referrals to SVSG from the Courts starting from 2013 to date, close to 2,000 with less than 5% reoffending rate.
Coming from different backgrounds, different circumstances surrounding their offending but with the same status, as fathers and mothers in our families, SVSG’s advocacy program appealed to this important role each offender played.
There was dancing and singing as the Champions on violence in the homes celebrated their coming together as agents of change in their families.
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledged the commitment from the volunteer facilitators for both the men and women’s program.
“Thank you to all the volunteer church, village and family leaders who have worked with SVSG throughout the year under its advocacy program. Our work has changed lives and we will continue to do so as one Family.” Siliniu Lina Chang
Wishing all our families a joyous and safer festive season.
Caring for the elderly and people with disabilities in Samoa has taken a new level when close to 30 participants to the Samoa Victim Support Group Caregivers Training will be graduating this Thursday, 14 December 2017.
The 3-months training had been approved by the Samoa Qualification Authorities as a Non Formal Learning Activity. In partnership with the Australian Pacific Technical College (APTC), SVSG had trained caregivers in the homes, on the basic skills on how to care for the elderly and the people with disabilities.
According to the APTC Country Manager Pat Vella, during the official opening of the program in 2016, “the training provides a life skill for everyday living.” This is what makes this graduation special.
One of the graduates from the program had also completed a Certificate III in Age Care & Community Services from the APTC in Suva Fiji.
The graduation ceremony will be held at the Samoa Stationery & Books Conference Room, kindly sponsored by Aumua Ming & Fiti Leung Wai.
Thank you to ANZ Bank (Samoa Limited), Federal Pacific Finance, Lesa’s Telephone Services and many others who have sponsored the training program.
“Last but not the least, thank you to the Program Accreditation Team from the Samoa Qualification Authority for working in partnership with SVSG to ensure that the Caregivers Training meets the requirements for it to be recognized as Non Formal Learning.” Siliniu Lina Chang
Samoa Victim Support Group is once again blessed by the generosity of the community willing to provide partnership support for its work with the sheltered children.
Solomona Taualofai operates a small organic farm called ‘Island Farm Samoa’. During November, Solomona expressed an interest to SVSG to raise funds for the sheltered children for Christmas.
Through the social media, Solomona has started advertising on the Island Farm Samoa page about the upcoming event – The Christmas Charity Lunch – to be held at the Eleele Fou (in front of the Government Building) on Thursday, 14 December 2017 at 12.00pm.
You have 2 choices of:
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledges the heart behind the initiative by Solomona Taualofai and the staff at Island Farm Samoa. “Thank you so much Solomona for remembering the children at the shelter this Christmas. We wish you well in your fundraising drive for the children at the Campus of Hope.”
“To all of SVSG supporters out there, come down to the Eleele Fou (in front of the Government Building in Apia) and enjoy an organic lunch while supporting Island Farm Samoa’s fundraising Christmas Charity Lunch.” Siliniu Lina Chang
It was a night that both men and women who participated in a rehabilitation programme will remember.
Facilitated by the Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.), sixty-two male and female offenders referred from the Family Courts were presented with certificates after completing various counselling programmes.
Families and friends of the graduates gathered at the Congregational Christian Church youth hall at Sogi on Thursday to witness the milestone achievements.
Family Court Judge, Talasa Atoa Saaga gave a fitting keynote address for the invited guests, families and supporters of S.V.S.G.
“I congratulate the whole class for making it to the end.
“Records say that from 2013 up until now, 1,980 offenders have been referred by the Court to SVSG’s Advocacy Program, and only 50 or 2% have appeared again before the Court for reoffending.”
Judge Talasa also acknowledged the hard work of the six facilitators who helped in the rehabilitation programme.
Nanai Leatunu’u spoke on behalf of the graduates.
“I thank the Heavenly Father for making this a memorable night for all of us. Each and every one of us has achieved our own goals.
“I hope the programme that we have been through for three to six months has renewed ourselves not to reoffend again.”
It is that time of the year when the spirit of giving highlights humanity at its best. This was noted today at the main office of the Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG) when the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Labor (MCIL), Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling and staff visited, bearing in kind and monetary gifts for SVSG and its work.
When presenting the gifts, Mr. Chu Ling noted that the MCIL staff know how hard SVSG’s work can be and how SVSG relies on donations to continue. As such the staff social club has been fundraising to help support SVSG and its work.
Bulk food supplies, miscellaneous toiletry supplies and a cheque of $1,000 were presented by representative of the MCIL staff to SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang.
During this year, SVSG has been working with MCIL on rolling out workplace awareness workshops on domestic workers and the legal responsibilities of their employers, as part of the Nofotane Project being implemented with UN Women Fund for Gender Equality.
In addition, Mr. Chu Ling has been a regular visitor at the Campus of Hope in his capacity as an Elder for the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, as the Church has been assisting with the children’s welfare needs.
When accepting the donation, SVSG President acknowledged the kind hearts of the staff and their spirit of giving. “Thank you so much Pulotu and the MCIL staff social club for these gifts which will assist us with the daily needs of the children. We pray that you will not forget us, now that you know how hard being a support service provider can be.” Siliniu Lina Chang
Bank of South Pacific (B.S.P.) has stepped in once again to help the community.
This time the recipient is the Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.).
On Friday, the bank has built a new kitchen at the S.V.S.G. School of Hope in Tuanaimato and sales booth at the Fugalei market to Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.).
Presented by B.S.P. General Manager, Taituuga Maryann Lameko-Vaai, the community project is an initiative that is implemented across the Pacific region, in all the countries that B.S.P. trades in.
For the year 2017, the theme is Empowering Women and Children so B.S.P. Samoa chose to partner with S.V.S.G.
“As an organisation, part of our culture is to be fully engaged and committed to the wellness of the communities that we operate in. This project is one of the many ways that we show Samoa and the Pacific that, B.S.P. cares and we have a social responsibility to give back to the community,” said Taitu’uga.
Through this partnership, B.S.P. found an avenue to assist with S.V.S.G.’s current activities by securing a booth at the Fugalei market to sell goods produced from their Nofotane project. A new kitchen was also built at the S.V.S.G. School of Hope.
“In our discussions with Siliniu Lina, she explained that the kitchen and cooking facilities were not ideal for the residents of this campus. So today I am pleased to hand over a new kitchen and cooking facilities as an extension to the fale Samoa, to encourage the young girls and children to assist with cooking and chores and perhaps work on their culinary skills and maybe become chefs in the future.”
The projects were presented to S.V.S.G. President, Siliniu Lina Chang and S.V.S.G. Patron, Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau.
For the first time since Samoa Victim Support Group ran the Advocacy Program to rehabilitate men and women offenders of violence referred from the Family Court for counselling, a combined graduation ceremony will be held.
The graduation will be take place at the Congregational Christian Church Hall, Sogi on Thursday, 30 November 2017 at 7.00pm.
Close to 100 graduates will be awarded with a Certificate of Completion after successfully completing counselling under the SVSG Advocacy Program.
The program gears towards behavioral change, giving the offenders of violence a second chance to change for the sake of their families to address family violence.
It is SVSG’s holistic approach to addressing family violence by working with not only the victims, but also the offenders. Since 2014, close to 800 referrals from the Family and Youth Courts have been attending the SVSG Advocacy Program.
The graduation ceremony culminates the 2017 Advocacy Program. It is a celebration not only for those who have successfully completed the program, but more so for their families, who provided the important support system necessary for the offenders to continue living in harmony with their loved ones.
As family, SVSG village representatives in villages throughout Samoa will continue to monitor the progress of the rehabilitated men and women from its Advocacy Program. At the same time, the graduates from this year’s graduation will join the Alumni from the Program who will advocate for violence free families and communities at the grassroot level.
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledges the partnership with the Ministry of Justice and Court Administration in addressing family violence through working with the offenders.
President of SVSG Samoa