The empowered nofotane women weavers are excited to be part of the Susu & Meli Project “The Milk & Honey” Project with Ms. Nicole Penman, currently undertaking PhD at the University of Queensland Australian, on Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Pacific.
Through the MECHTA VAN BOOGERT AWARD, Ms. Penman is working with at least 20 Nofotane Star Earners to begin an ethical online marketplace, sourcing artisan goods from the Pacific and selling them as on-trend accessories to women primarily in Australia.
According to Ms. Penman, “My hope is to take the incredible talent of women in the Pacific, such as those who make the Nofotane products, and engage the international community to ultimately build up an ethical online market place - where the artisans themselves are receiving a fair price, a percentage of proceeds return to community projects and the wider community gets to enjoy the wonderful art and culture that is produced.”
The first workshop for the Nofotane Star Earners was held in Apia early February, where the women learnt, how as artists, they should start designing their products before creating them.
An inquiry from a children’s wear label in Australia, Ina Swim, for an order of 200 very specific hats, saw the nofotane weaver artisans discussing diameters and circumference, fumigation and shipping costs, in preparation for this opening in the Australian market.
The transformation in the nofotane women is obvious. They are now more confident, they have the smile of an empowered woman and they are involved in decision making for their own benefit. They are sustaining their self-employment.
“Thank you so much Nicole for reaching out to support the potential of our nofotane women. Your opening up these market opportunities in Australia is improving the nofotane women’s access to sustainable employment.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President