What’s it like learning a brand new skill? For some women of Maagiagi, Faleapuna, Afega, and Safotu, it was tough, but they got there.
Serita Tiauli is 22, and before last month, she had never tried to make her own clothes before.
“I need to get a bit more experience, but it was really fun,” she said.
“This can be a big help to my family, and for me to earn a living. For now I can help my parents, and then later my own kids, if I have any.”
For many of the women, this experience will set them up to become more economically independent and have a sustainable source of income.
One woman from Faleapuna, Kalala Leo said she loved watching the women understand how to make their own clothes.
She said the teachers were kind, and patient, and that she and the other women will miss them when they leave on Tuesday.
Asago Viliamu is from Fatuvale, Safune, and she took part in the group training in Savaii. She said she can save 50 per cent on most clothes if she can make them herself.
“A dress can cost $50 or $60 tala, but I can make it for $30,” she said.
Ms. Viliam wants to use her new skills to set up a business and sell the clothes she makes.
“Before, I didn’t have any work, but now I can have a small business,” she said.
In a video presentation, the sewing teachers from the Hunan International Business Vocational College said their students were all hardworking and eager to learn.
The project manager from Hunan, Zhou Lihong said delegates loved their time in Samoa.
“No matter what language they speak, they felt the heart and the love of the Samoan women, some of them were even being called ‘mum’!”
Ms. Zhou said she would love to run the programme again and bring even more electric sewing machines.
“We were initially worried about electricity, but we found there is not really an issue,” she said. Yang Xiaohui, who taught the advanced electric machine class at Tooa Salamasina Hall, said she is confident her students will be able to go on using their skills when she leaves.
“Their passion for sewing helped them to learn and hone their craft,” she said.
“Now that they know how to use these sewing machines, they can make anything they like, in all sorts of different designs.”