The 7th Session of the Self-Esteem Workshops for the nofotane women at Toamua, was marked by the attendance of an aged population of nofotane. In attendance were nofotane women from Ululoloa, Vaitele, Puipaa and Faleula.
From as young as 25 to the eldest at 82 years old, 14 other nofotane women are in the age group 65 – 79.
Despite their ages, the elders experience and knowledge have helped them make better decisions for the betterment of their families. The younger nofotane women were inspired by the elders testimonies, especially in being tempted to make impulsive decisions that might have long term effects on their families.
It has really brought home the aim of the Workshops, to encourage, to boost the morale and to share the positive transformation in the lives of the nofotane women, in order for their socio-economic empowerment to be sustainable.
Sustainability therefore, in this context, is not so much a measure of how much income the nofotane women have earned, but rather, how these women are living life free from the violation of their basic human rights.
The ripple effect was obvious. As the women are becoming bread winners for their families, there is a noticeable change in the way they talk and present themselves. There is confidence behind the emotions while reminiscing on the hard life they have endured. With confidence, a safe space has now been created within the realm of the immediate family of the mother, father and children, to discuss family matters and/or development. The nofotane woman’s opinion is valued by her husband, and that of the husband’s extended family.
For the 73 year old Leaoaniu Lomiga of Toamua-uta, she considered the nofotane women of today as being blessed compared to their days, where there were no such socio-economic programs to support them. “We have come this far because of endurance, for endurance helps us to grow in character and in hope.”
A lesson worth noting from the older nofotane women at this 7th Workshop session.
“It is in this connection that Samoa Victim Support Group continues to be grateful to the European Union for supporting the sustianbility program for the nofotane women, through the Civil Society Support Program.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President