The Samoa Police Women Advisory Network or the SPWAN today continued with its tradition when celebrating the International Women’s Day.
The tradition saw the Network honoring the work of Samoa Victim Support Group year after year, for the children survivors of violence and sexual abused under its care, through in kind donations of various supplies for the children’s daily needs.
During the presentation of the donation, the President of the SPWAN Senior Sargent Efo Moalele commented on the Police’s relationship with SVSG. According to the Senior Sargent, “The Police can’t do its work without the support of SVSG. The partnership has therefore makes our work much easier.”
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang thanked the President of the SPWAN and the Network for recognizing the work of SVSG this time every year.
“SVSG will continue to support the work of the Police through our partnership.” Siliniu Lina Chang
Samoa Victim Support Group honors three groups of women within its support programs today as the world celebrated the International Women’s Day.
First, we have the women and girls survivors of violence; second, we have the rehabilitated women champions of violence and thirdly, we have the volunteer women, who are the backbone of SVSG’s support services.
At the Campus of Hope, the rehabilitated women champions of violence under the SVSG’s Tina Faufautua program, joined the children survivors of violence and the women volunteers, to share their stories in celebrating their rise up.
The testimonies were very powerful, as the rehabilitated women champions of violence saw for themselves the reality of the abuse suffered by the children from within their families, as evidence by the many children residence at the Campus. Seeing is believing, as the women saw for themselves the extend of SVSG’s work which prompted their willingness to help out through a vegetable garden for the children.
To end today’s celebration, the volunteered mothers behind the Tina Faufautua program were honored for their hard work, their commitment and their contribution in rehabilitating women champions of violence. Mrs. Milo Cortz and Sister Schwenke were amongst the facilitators of the program honored today.
Last but not the least, one of SVSG’s eldest village representative, Mrs. Faamomoi Taituuga was visited today in honor of her volunteer work for SVSG. She was humbled but thankful to SVSG for continuing to support our people in need.
“At the end of the day, whatever we have achieved, the glory and honor should return to our Heavenly Father while we humble ourselves as unworthy servants.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
Come the 8th March 2018, the world will once again come together to celebrate the International Women’s Day. On the theme ‘Press for Progress’ to accelerate gender parity as a global momentum, Samoa Victim Support Group is positioning itself accordingly through its various programs.
We have the Tina Faufautua Program which provides counseling rehabilitation for women offenders of violence referred from the Family Court. This is SVSG making progress in addressing family violence in Samoa. While statistics on case referrals from the Courts to SVSG in 2017, recorded 33% being women compared to 67% of men, SVSG’s program for both men and women takes holistic approach in addressing family violence. The families, village and church leaders of the reformed offenders attested on the behavioral changes in the lives of these mothers following the counseling rehabilitation.
The press for progress in the economic empowerment of women saw one of the most vulnerable groups of women in Samoa, the unemployed nofotane, being trained on livelihood skills for income generation and self-employment.
From July 2017 to February 2018, Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG) has been providing livelihood training workshops for over 2,000 unemployed nofotane women as part of its economic empowerment program with UN Women Fund for Gender Equality.
From these 2,000+ trained nofotane women, 400 have started small businesses and have earned an income from the skills being trained on. Some of the nofotane products such as beauty accessories were showcased recently by the models during the MaugaLui fashion house show. The nofotane women are therefore making positive gains day by day towards gender parity.
At the Campus of Hope, the young girls who are survivors of sexual abuse have made press for progress in their rehabilitation programs, thanks to the Star Foundation and the ‘With and For Girls’ Award won by SVSG in 2016.
“So while the International Women’s Day is not country, group or organisation specific, SVSG is glad that it has contributed to accelerating gender parity in Samoa. Collectively, let's all Press for Progress.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
The nofotane women of Tuasivi, Fogapoa and Iva in Savaii embraced their economic empowerment as a form of livelihood to support their families. This was the general comment from close to 100 nofotane women who attended the 21st livelihood training session held at Fogapoa, at Taulapapa Faasootauloa Patī’s residence
The selfless mentality of these nofotane women supported UN Women’s vision for its economic empowerment program of ‘leaving no one behind’, as the participants juggled their responsibilities in the home, with the livelihood training program, all for the sake of their families.
We had mothers and their daughters training together to master different handicraft skills and produced quality products.
At the same time, their husbands joined to help out their wives with the commercial cooking training.
Then we had high chiefs such as Tofilau Taranaki of Iva, Namulauulu Tuipala of Fogapoa and others, sitting around and offered moral support as village leaders, who have been advocating for support for the project.
It surely was a family oriented training and we look forward to returning for the first assessment of these women’s businesses, to determine their sustainable self employment for their families.
“A nofotane woman will always be a nofotane; the project is not attempting to change this cultural aspect of the FaaSamoa. The project merely aims to improve the economic empowerment of women and to increase their participation in domestic and community matters, as these are some of the most important contributing factors to achieving gender equality.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President.
The nofotane women who participanted in the 20th livelihood training session for the Nofotane project were spiritually challenged by Reverend Tautua Aulerio of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa at Vaigaga, to look at their problems not as a way of God punishing them, but as His way of testing their faith.
“If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.” 2 Thessalonians 3: 11
The spiritual message from Rev. Tautua officially opened the training session for the Faleata West constituency where women from Vaigaga, Vaiusu, Vailoa, Tulaele and Vaitele gathered at the CCCS Vaigaga Hall to be economically empowered.
The message was direct and it sets the eagerness and the excitement amongst the nofotane women who were trainined on the four (4) selected skills for the Nofotane project: fabric printing, commercial cooking, handicraft and flower arrangement. There was a mixture of the young and the old, the children and the youth as each chose a skill to be trained on, and worked diligently to master the art of such skill.
With Rev. Tautua’s spiritual message in mind, none of the participants wanted to be left behind. The creativity of some saw the weaving of handbags from coffee mix trash, with different eye catching colour designs. The demand for such bags was huge that clients were lined up for their orders even before the bags were completed.
Out of the 100 nofotane women who participated, 50% registered to start a small business from the skills being trained on with handicraft being the most popular one.
Thank you Rev. Tautua and the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa at Vaigaga for hosting the training program and for encouraging the nofotane women to work hard for themselves and their families.
“Thank you to the Samoa Victim Support Group for the vision to economically empower women as this in turn benefits the whole village.” This was the acknowledgment from High Chief of Letogo, Tumua To’oto’ofoe Salevaogogo during the last day of the 19th training session for the Nofotane project.
Held at Letogo, the 19th session was well attended by 100 women from Vailele, Fagalii and Letogo who were trained on livelihood skills as the final component of the 2-year project SVSG and the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality are working on.
The pre-training survey found that the nofotane women are gifted with different talents. As such, it was just a matter of them utilizing these talents to generate income for the family. While the popular fabric printing, handicraft, flower arrangement and commercial cooking were the skills included in the training, the nofotane women of the Vaimauga East constituency taught the training team a skill or two on weaving hats, school bags, and others using the odd plastics and trash.
When the training team left Letogo, they have recruited an elderly who has mastered the art of weaving of hats using plastic and ribbons. She is now part of the trainers for the remaing villages to be covered by the Project. At the same time, 43 nofotane women have shown an interest in setting up small businesses of their own. This is one of the goals of the economic empowerment of nofotane women as envisaged by the project, and we are glad to see it becoming a reality.
SVSG’s standing with regards to the project and our culture remains, as according to SVSG President, “a nofotane woman will always be a nofotane; the project is not attempting to change this cultural aspect of the FaaSamoa. The project merely aims to improve the economic empowerment of women and to increase their participation in domestic and community matters, as these are some of the most important contributing factors to achieving gender equality.”
Thank you to the village leaders of Letogo, Fagalii and Vailele for advocating for the project and for participating at the livelihood training to show your support.
The Samoa Consulate of Hawaii Mr. Papaliitele Jack Thompson and the founder of the South Seas Christian Ministries took time out from his Group’s busy schedule while in Samoa to visit the children at the Campus of Hope.
The SVSG Patron Hon. Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau and the Chair of the SVSG Board, Mrs. Georgina Lui hosted the visitors and took them for a tour of the Campus.
Papalii was impressed by the facilities and was especially amazed by SVSG’s work for the unfortunate people of Samoa. According to Papaliitele, “I have heard of SVSG and I have wanted to see for myself the work, and I am amazed. Thank you for all your hard work.”
An opportunity for a partnership with the Samoa Consulate of Hawaii & the South Seas Christian Ministries Partnership is in the pipeline to help out with the work of SVSG.
The SVSG Patron, Hon. Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau thanked the Samoa Consulate of Hawaii for making time to visit the children, and wished them well on their journey home.
“Journey together with the God of Miracles” is the theme for the 2018 Thanksgiving Service for the Samoa Victim Support Group’s extended family of supporters, donors and friends.
To be held at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral at Mulivai on Sunday, 28 January 2018 at 3.30pm, the Thanksgiving Service will bring together the SVSG Family to worship, to pray and to thank our Heavenly Father for His guidance throughout 2017.
As we started on our journey in 2018, we once again seek His wisdom and grace, to lead and guide our journey throughout the year.
All the churches, the government ministries and corporations that we work with, the diplomatic corps that have assisted us, the business community that have walked in faith with us, the partners that we have fostered along the way and the individuals that believe in the Cause, are invited to join us in prayer.
Let us uplift our supporting work for the victims of crimes and the vulnerable people in our community to the Lord because a community that prays together stays together.
To God be the glory always, as we journey together in His grace.
“Folau ma le Atua Fai Vavega”
A holiday with some volunteer work for the vulnerable and the abused children at the Campus of Hope, was Coralie Allen and her friend Julia Stewart’s idea of a fruitful time in paradise. And even with only a week’s holiday, the two spared 1 day to fellowship with the children and treated them to new haircuts.
Based in Sydney, providing hair treats for the vulnerable is nothing new to these two Good Samaritans who do the same for the homeless in their community.
Coralie and Julie also presented a donation of toiletries collected from their church pastor and members as well as snacks and break for the children.
“Thank you Coralie and Julie for keeping the volunteer spirit alive, and for treating the children to new haircuts before school starts. Wishing you both a blessed year ahead and as you continued to support the vulnerable members of your community through your talent.” Georgina Lui, Chair of SVSG Board
The youth sub group of Samoa Victim Support Group, the SVSG (Junior) utilized the opportunity presented by the Teine Toa crew of My Story 61, to connect and establish a partnership with the Australian group.
Initially referred from the SVSG (Queensland), the SVSG (Junior) had been liaising with the MS61 Director Lillian Su’a in organizing the Group’s visit and its 2-days program at the Campus of Hope.
The young children and the older girls cared for at the Campus were inspired by the show My Story 61, that they is always hope. That despite the feeling of despair, confusion, hurt and suicidal, the show and inspiring testimonies by some of the Group members encouraged the children of the victory that comes from being hopeful.
The SVSG (Junior) on the other hand were more empowered by the show to rise above the struggles they face and in advocating for everyday issues affecting the young people in Samoa. This is very important as the youths continued their volunteer services to bring about positive changes in the lives of young people in which the SVSG (Junior) and its program target.
Unemployment, child vendor, troubled teen, suicidal sexually abused teens, bullying, the list goes on. These are the real life issues the SVSG (Junior) and the Teine Toa programs are addressing, which make the new partnership approach a way forward for our work with the youth in Samoa.
According to the Chair of the SVSG Board Mrs. Georgina Lui during her presentation to the Leadership of Samoa Program in 2017 on ‘The real life problems facing our youth today’, Mrs. Lui talked about “the amazing youth of today and how we can help appreciate their strength, their potential and their ability to steer our future.” This is youth empowerment and this is how we can address the problems they are facing.
Thank you Lillian Su’a and the Teine Toa Group for an inspiring and empowerment program with us.
President of SVSG Samoa