The 16th SHINE Workshop venue at Vaipuna came alive with a festive atmosphere as village leaders and trainers joined together in singing and dancing to celebrate the empowered nofotane women.
Who wouldn’t want to celebrate when out of the 33 participants to the workshop, or 20 of them or 60% are now self-employed nofotane women, earning an income from the livelihood skills there were trained on during the initial women’s empowerment program in 2017. The women are from Vaipuna, Vaiala, Leone, Aai-o-Niue and Tufuiopa.
We are talking about the heart of Apia here, yet, the presence of village leaders attested to two milestone achievement for the project within these town area villages:
1) Increased recognition and support by village leaders of women's positive economic contributions and importance of participation in domestic and community matters; and
2) Increased awareness of employment rights of nofotane women and the importance of sustainable self-employment of these women
The story of Salome Paulo of Leone is a classic example of how an economically empowered woman decreases the risk of domestic violence. This is a mother of 14 children, who have been at the receiving end of domestic violence due to the stressful economic situation at home. Salome collects fresh flowers to make garlands sold at the nightclubs six days a week. Her earnings have helped in putting all her children to school and supported her husband financially. We asked Salome about the possibility of a backlash of this financial stability should her husband feels threatened by her achievements; but she just smiled with a thumb up sign, and said ‘No more Violence’.
A lot more similar stories of positive changes in families have been shared by the self-employed nofotane women as the SHINE workshops continue.
“The funding support from the European Union through the Civil Society Support Program is therefore acknowledged for the difference that it continues to make, in the lives of the nofotane women under the program, with cascading benefits to the rest of the women in Samoa.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President