There has been a noted connection between improved self-esteem in women and their abilities to form support networks with other women, as the Nofotane Program continues in village communities.
This connection was highlighted by the sharing amongst the 37 nofotane women from Nofoalii, Fasitoo-tua, Tufulele and Satapuala, who gathered at Faleasiu for the the 11thsession of Self-Esteem workshops for self-employed nofotane women.
Included in the training was one of the Star Earners from the 2016-2018 Nofotane Program, the 61 year old Beauty Luteru of Faleasiu.
Before the Nofotane livelihood training reached Faleasiu in October 201717, Beauty had already earned an income through selling Samoan cocoa. What Beauty learnt from the program was to ‘think bigger and outside of her comfort zone.’
As the Inspirational Speaker for the 11th workshop session, the beauty of being empowered, of working in a support network of women with a common goal of helping each other, and of securing overseas markets for her Samoan cocoa products, was obvious. Beauty has expanded her small business to include vegetable gardening and sewing. She helps her husband with decisions on matters concerning their immediate family; and her views are also sought when the extended family gathers. While her participation and her recognition in her family are all new to Beauty, these are not changing how she sees herself, as a nofotane woman, who knows her place in the family. Such a woman of courage, so much humility.
The secret to Beauty’s success was her ‘thinking big’, which includes the extension of her support to other women in her village of Faleasiu, which has become her support network. Beauty now has a Bank Account with goes to show how far she has come as a nofotane woman with a sustainable income.
To think that 2 years ago, these women were merely carrying out domestic duties for their families without any plans of becoming breadwinners, is inspirational. In additional, they have proven to themselves that they can be both a mother and a supporter of their families development through sustainable income, and are doing a good job at it.
With funding support from the European Union through the Civil Society Support Program, Samoa Victim Support Group continues to support the income generating activities of nofotane women, which has proven to have cascading benefits on these women’s families and village communities alike.