Close to 30 nofotane earners in Savaii travelled as far as Sasina, Faletagaloa Safune, Satupaitea, Saleaula, Samalaeulu, Puapua, Lano, Siufaga, Fogapoa, Faala, Salimu, Vailoa and Vaega to attend the 7th self-esteem session for the Canadian funded project that was held at the SVSG Tuasivi Office.
Despite the long distance to travel, the nofotane women gathered to share on the successes of their new business ventures following the Nofotane Project they previously attended.
Some have set up canteens at the village schools selling banana, taro and ulu chips, pork buns and a variety of bakery products. Others have delivered their woven products such as fans and bags to the village shops, while the rest have mastered the different elei design and printing, and have tried to complement these with sewing.
What came out clearer from the nofotane women’s sharing was their confidence, which SHINES through their testimonies, making the self-esteem workshop all the more exciting for them.
And the inspirational speaker Mr. Oloapu Kaisarita, the SVSG village representative for Vaiafai Iva, related well to the women’s improved self-esteem. As a businessman himself, Oloapu spoke about hard work and perseverance. “It is through the work of these hands that financed my children’s education, put food on our table, and enabled me to contribute to the church and the village. If you do not work, I’m sorry but you are not yet empowered socially and economically.”
With the nofotane earners improved confidence, they openly discussed the challenge with the limited markets available for their products in Savaii. Most of the earners are however grateful of the demand for their products from overseas buyers requested through the SVSG Office. One of the objectives of the Canadian funded project is to link the nofotane earners to relevant market affiliations such as WIBDI, SAME or the Samoa Business Network. Through these market affiliations, the nofotane earners will be adequately supported.
“A nofotane woman will always be a nofotane; the project is not attempting to change this aspect of our culture, but merely aims to ensure sustainability of being empowered because a strong, proud and successful community, does not tolerate any form of violence against women.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
President of SVSG Samoa