Three weeks of intensive sewing training came to a close with a celebratory ceremony at the National University falesamoa on Monday.
The Chinese sponsored sewing training for around 100 women was designed to teach women an essential skill, not only to save them money on their family’s wardrobes but to potentially profit from as well.
The villages of Faleapuna, Afega, Maagiagi and Safotu volunteered 20 women each to learn from experienced Chinese teachers and their interpreters in pedal sewing machines, making clothes and even marketing them.
An advanced training on electric machines was held for an additional 20 women at the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D) Tooa Salamasina Hall.
At the closing ceremony, music and singing were sure signs of gratitude from the women. They were elaborately dressed in clothing of their own making, from bright puletasi to flowery skirts and dresses. Some of the participants brought their children along too; who while running around the falesamoa showcased their parents’ handiwork as well.
The Chinese Embassy staff treated the audience to a short video presentation. There were clips of the training sessions from across the villages, and testimonials from the Chinese interpreters and teachers.
Minister for the M.W.C.S.D., Faimalotoa Kika Stowers thanked China for supporting the sustainable development of Samoa.
“Thank you for believing in our people,” she said.
She asked the women to continue training and practicing the skills they were taught.
“In due course, the Ministry will check on their progress, and that they have sold only clothes and not the resources they were donated,” Faimalotoa said, laughing.
She said she also hoped the programme would continue into the future. Chinese Ambassador Wang Xuefeng said he has been pleased to see the progress of the trainee seamstresses, and heard the success of the programme had travelled well.
“This programme has become so popular that more and more people are inquiring about the programme, and hope to participate in the future,” Mr. Wang said.
“All beautiful things come to an end.”
“I can truly feel the warm friendship that has been forged between Samoan participants and Chinese teachers during the training process in the past three weeks.” After the speeches, each village’s women performed dances to not only classic Samoan tracks but to Chinese favourites as well. Some women performed songs they had learned in Chinese, much to everyone’s delight.
A fashion parade was held for the women to show off their creations, including their children’s wear, and a raffle was drawn to give three lucky women a pair of electric scissors.