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OFFICIAL MEDIA RELEASE: Malaela women financially empowered in sewing and elei-making

SAMOA, September 1 - 1 September, 2020: The women of Malaela in Aleipata have successfully completed their handicraft project, which empowered them with skills in sewing and elei-making in order to earn money and provide for their families. Twenty percent (20%) of the women’s Komiti in the beginning had no skills and a few with limited capacity; however, at the end of the project, 98% of them were highly capable.

The Malaela women’s komiti received fifteen sewing machines and elei production materials funded under the program. Through the trainings, the women were able to acquire skills on sewing, handicraft-making, floral arrangement and elei-printing. In addition, some have established their own side-stall and are earning a living through sales of elei and getting paid to sew a variety of attires such as puletasi, ie-faitaga, shirts, dresses, skirts, shorts, school uniforms, table cloths and much more.

This project has encouraged and motivated many to be more creative and innovative with their designs and patterns to ensure it’s up to date with the modern fashion trend. For example; Mrs Mele Nati Su’a produced a stunning two-piece dinner dress that won a fashion show competition for the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) at Le Manumea Hotel at Vailima.

The project provides the basis for a model to other villages that wish to follow suit and to benefit from these household-empowered skills for a better living. Gender Empowerment is crucial as a foundation for development. Empowering women is a real investment for a sustainable future and a resilient community.

The Government of Australia in partnership with the Government of Samoa through the Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP) under the Samoa Women Shaping Development Program (SWSDP) awarded Malaela SAT $33,340 for their sewing and elei project in 2019. This is the first time Malaela Women’s Komiti has ever received a project from the Government through CSSP. While the project concluded this year, the women of Malaela continue to utilize the equipment and skills to support their families and the community.

Leota Ioane Sua, the Pulenuu expressed their appreciation through their paramount chief Lesamatauanuu Telefoni Retzlaff and village to the governments of Australia and Samoa; and partners for empowering their women through this project.

Development of the handicraft project and all details are posted on the Malaela Village Developments and Civil Society Support Program – Samoa Facebook Pages.

September 1, 2020