The conversation Samoa Victim Support Group have had with the nofotane women survivors of violence back in 2015, lead to an understanding of the challenges, the fears, and the doubts that these women were facing.
Getting to the bottom of the problem wasn’t easy, as it required SVSG working a few levels below the obvious insecurities to understand what scared these women. And the answer lies in the women’s inability to support themselves and their families, financially.
Fast forward this situation to the here and now, we have observed from the 13thgathering of the self-employed women under SVSG’s Nofotane Program, the creativity and successes of confident women.
At Savaia, close to 30 women from Faleaseela, Savaia, Tafagamanu and Matautu Lefaga shared on ways which have helped them build their self-confidence, following the SHINE Self-Esteem Program with SVSG in 2016.
From a small act of respect from their husbands, to a recognition of their voices in family discussions, the acknowledgement of their hard work with a compliment from their in-laws, or the requests to teach other women the livelihood skills they have mastered. All of these small changes contributed towards building these women’s confidence in themselves, and influences their new behaviors, which ultimately, breeds creativity and more success as self-employed nofotane women.
For the nofotane women of Tafagamanu, they relied mostly on land for their subsistence living. Coconut trees are in abundance. And this was where the nofotane women of Tafagamanu’s creativity was most obvious. From earrings to hair accessories to church decorations and many other products, there was no stoping what these women can create out of coconut shells.
Those from Faleaseela, Savaia and Matautu Lefaga have the best of both the land and the sea, and as such, their products are not only creative, but so diversified that attracted high demand from both the local and overseas markets.
For these diligent women, the impact of the Nofotane Project in their lives goes beyond the economic and social stability, but more personal in the confidence and the belief they have in their abilities.
“Thank you to the funding support from the European Union, which had enabled SVSG to reassure the nofotane women of the Lefega & Faleaseela constitutuency and all women under its self-sustainabilty program, that they are change makers, simply because they have learnt to believe in themselves.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President