Au Talavou Mo Taeao
By Samoa Observer
Vaifou Koria is the new Miss Samoa College V2015. Sponsored by Le Tiara’s Boutique, the youngest of 12 children by Rev Paulo Koria and the late Dora, Koria who vied for the honour, was crowned by the outgoing Miss Samoa College of 1993 Miss Fatalevave Ianesi.
Rene Fa’asisila and 1994 Miss Tui Faasili, at School Hall, Friday night.
“I feel so privileged and I feel so honoured to have been chosen as the ambassador of Samoa College tonight,” she said.
“I would like to acknowledge my sponsor, supporters and my family especially my parent. This is a huge honour for me and I thank God for giving me the strength.”
The 18-year-old student hails from Faatoia and Saleimoa. She won Miss Popularity, Miss Charity, Miss Talent and Best Interview.
Samoa College Principal, Afioga Papali’i Reupena acknowledged the Samoa College Alumni of 1991-1994 for this fundraising for the school. The Chairman of the Organizing Committee, So’oalo Roger Stanley, said the pageant is part of a number of activities organised by their class to give back to the school. Although they have been away from the College for twenty years, their hearts long to give back to a school that gave them a solid foundation for the future.
Last year, the Class of 1991- 1994 donated state-of-the-art I.T. equipment to the school’s library. That was done after they helped to renovate the library. They also saw the need for new and more books so they organised a book drive which was hugely successful.
The books were formally handed to the school in February this year.
Looking at the future, the class of 1991 is looking at installing air condition units in the library. The pageant is part of fundraising to make this happen.
Mau movement seen as example for American Samoa youth
Young people in American Samoa have been told to look to the history of the Mau Movement in Samoa as an example of how to solve conflict through non-violence.
A symposium held at the American Samoa Community College this week is part of the national movement 'Campaign Nonviolence', which aims to build a culture of peace.
The director of the Samoan Pacific Studies at the college, Okenaisa Fauolo, gave a presentation about the Mau movement during the symposium.
One of its organisers, Agnes Vargo, says it gave young people a valuable lesson of using peaceful means to achieve a purpose.
"To face the abuse, and to face the colonisation that they experienced in the past, they did peaceful methods, they did marches, and many students had not even heard about this. There was a precedent set, already in Samoa. Samoa already has captured the feeling of non-violence, many, many years ago."
Agnes Vargo says it also taught students that there are cultural means to deal with life conflicts.
The hottest Hip Hop choreographer for the Stars is Parris Goebel, a Samoan girl from Auckland's South side.
The Young New Zealander of the Year is tapping a bright orange nail against her cut-off jeans.
"It was pretty cool; I mean, it wasn't all magical. I liked the people. I didn't like dancing on camera that much. It's a little bit boring."
She shrugs. Next question.
Never mind that she's just made her role in the latest instalment of the multi-million-dollar Hollywood dance movie franchise Step Up sound like it was a bit-part in a televised Christmas pageant.
Really? You didn't enjoy it?
"I mean, obviously I'm going to be doing movies one day, so it was good to be part of that."
She smiles, unapologetic.
Meet the force that is Parris Goebel. Dancer, choreographer to Jennifer Lopez. Three-time World Hip-Hop Dance Champion with her dance crew, The Royal Family. Daughter of Brett and LeeAnn, aunt to eight wee cherubs who appear regularly on her Instagram feed - alongside Los Angeles streetscapes, magazine shoots, fan mail and a picture of her smiling with buddy Lorde.
At an age where most people are just trying to make it to work or the pub on time, Goebel is living a life that, to be honest, barely seems possible.
It's a Thursday night at the Goebel-owned Palace dance studio in industrial Penrose, Auckland, but it feels more like a high school social. Teenagers are leaning on each other, hugging, peeling off to dance a few steps. A boy and a girl dance together, she flicks her hair extensions to one side, kicking one silver Air Jordan over the other.
"I wouldn't say it's the highlight of my career," the 22-year-old says, looking up at him coquettishly, he moving closer, until they break character and fall about laughing.
Brett "Big Poppa" Goebel, as he's affectionately known, wanders through, stopping to chat to individuals before loudly chiding the room at large that they'll never get anywhere if they don't work hard.
Parris, who has been lying on the floor, gets up.
Standing up the front, she begins to dance. As she does, the formerly chaotic space is transformed and without a word dancers fall into place behind her.
"Shimmy, shimmy, shimmy, freeze, bounce, nod, nod, boom," she breathes, shoving her body through the air as if daring it to push back. Sneakers squeak, baggy T-shirts billow.
The Royal Family, The Palace's premiere dance crew, is practising for a series of shows across Australia and the North Island. They're fundraising to go back and defend their title at the World Hip Hop Dance Championships in the United States later this month.
Dancers at The Palace can audition to be in one of the studio's 'crews' or dance teams, whose members perform and compete worldwide. Eight-year-olds can join junior crew Bubblegum, moving up through Sorority, Duchess, all-girl crew ReQuest and megacrew The Royal Family.
It's unlike any dance rehearsal I've seen. There's barely any counting, for one. Parris busts a move, the rest of the dancers follow her, and if she likes the way it looks, it stays. Her dance style is so famous now it even has a name: Polyswagg.
"Girls, come on," she says, snapping her fingers at a couple of dancers who are talking. They look ashamed, and run over to stand beside her.
An hour, multiple run-throughs and several changes later, and she's happy with it.
"Oh perfect, that couldn't have gone any more perfect. That was the one," she says, and the room lets out a breath. A choreographed clap, a fierce smoulder tossed at the mirror and practice is over. "Crowns up!" she says, and the dancers perform a final salute.
Parris has always known what she wants. Home videos show an impossibly cute three-year-old in the lounge, limbs too short to cooperate with ambitious dance routines.
"No one in my family danced or anything like that, but my parents definitely brought me up on hip-hop and R&B," Parris says. "I just remember watching video clips all the time, and watching movies like You Got Served and wanting to be on them."
As the youngest of four kids growing up in Manurewa, Auckland, she tried every dance genre going before stumbling into hip-hop at age 10. Within a year she was taking classes and by 15 she'd outgrown the dance school. That's when she decided to start her own all-girl dance crew, ReQuest, with four mates.
First they trained in an aunt's garage, before moving to Dad's warehouse. Brett, who runs a promotions company, stacked mirrors against the wall for his daughter and her friends to dance.
"It was funny; we had to get a real old carpet in because the concrete was too hard to train on every day. They squeezed into whatever space, so if we had pallets or deliveries come in, they would be dancing among those," he says. "Sometimes when it was full we had to cancel practice."
ReQuest was good. After about a year of rehearsals, Brett took them to Phoenix in the US for the Monsters of Hip Hop Dance Convention. There, Parris was picked from thousands of dancers for a spot in the finale.
Monsters of Hip Hop director Andy Funk later told TVNZ's NZ Story: "I remember this very humble, appreciative, quiet person, and you step into the ballroom and then there's this beast on the dancefloor... she was about to be found, and she was not going to be stopped."
Brett, who is also Parris's manager, says it was validation enough for him and LeeAnn that their daughter was on the right track. Back in Auckland, after one particularly hairy parent-teacher interview at Auckland Girls' Grammar, they decided it would be better if she focused on her talent.
"We went to the parent interviews, and I'm sitting there and this geography teacher is just going on about my daughter and saying like: 'She's not very good at essay writing, and she's got to apply herself and put more energy into school,' and I said: 'Not to be rude, but she wants to be a dancer,'" Brett says.
"I went outside, got Parris and said, 'You can leave school tomorrow,' and that was it. I just said to her: 'Go and be a dancer.'"
In 2009, she and ReQuest won the Varsity section of the World Hip Hop Dance Championships. The next year, they won it again. The year after that, The Royal Family won the megacrew title, which they have retained for the past three years.
Then in 2012, Jennifer Lopez - that's right, J-Lo, Jenny from the block - saw a clip Parris had put on YouTube and asked her to choreograph for her.
That, Parris admits, was exciting. "I definitely cried. I sobbed like a two-year-old child; it was really emotional," she says. "I really like her. She just works so hard, and it's really cool to be around an older woman who is successful and doesn't settle for anything less. She just keeps pushing."
The ball hadn't just started rolling, it was hurtling down the hill. After choreographing Lopez's Dance Again World Tour, Goebel went on to perform with Lopez on the season 11 finale of American Idol and danced with ReQuest in Lopez's music video 'Goin' In'.
She has since helped to choreograph Cirque du Soleil's tribute to Michael Jackson's life and music, One, and been approached by rap superstars like Missy Elliott.
American dance film Step Up: All In, due for international release on August 8, features Parris in the role of Violet, an exchange student from New Zealand.
She also choreographed parts of the movie.
And her success isn't exclusive to the States - a dance she choreographed for K-pop (Korean Pop) singer Taeyang last year currently has more than 20 million views on YouTube. ReQuest and The Royal Family are in demand from Japan to Brazil.
If it all sounds exhausting, that's because it is. When Parris isn't working out, touring, filming, doing promotional work or taking workshops, she's teaching. "If I'm at home, I like to try to be normal, so I go out to dinner or something and be with my family.
I feel like my life is so insane, so when I have free time I just normalise my life. If I go to a movie it's a miracle,"
she says. "But I always fall asleep because I'm so tired."
This also means romance isn't really on the agenda.
"I'm so single it's not even funny. I mean, if I want to go on a date with someone I will. But the only guys I do meet are dancers, and they're kind of sleazy anyway," she laughs.
Not that she's complaining about the work. Dance for her is an outlet. On the floor she's not Parris Goebel; she's Parris, Queen of Polyswagg, head of The Royal Family. She is a beast.
"I feel really, really different. I feel the complete opposite. I feel really free and indestructible, like nothing can stop me and hurt me. I just get really confident and fierce... I'm kind of intimidating and mean. People get quite scared of me.
"For me, the story I tell when I'm dancing is being the underdog, and telling people it hasn't been easy, but I'm a confident, successful young woman who has made it and is following my dreams."
Just how successful is she, then? Does she have any idea how much money she makes?
"No I don't - my dad doesn't tell me. It's a lot though," she says. "It's like a lot of money. Maybe for a big job I can get, like, $30,000 for two weeks' work. I don't think I live anything differently - even if I get paid well I don't spend my money."
From the car where he's driving to a Royal Family gig later that week, Brett's laugh crackles down the speaker phone. "Yeah, she has no idea what she earns. It's irrelevant to her. All she's interested in is what the job is, and how she's going to make it amazing. She knows she has money, but the bigger thing for her is that she's able to live her dream and get paid for it."
To be honest, they no longer need to keep The Palace open, he says. To take an external dance workshop,
Parris's daily rate is now around NZ$2900.
"We could close The Palace tomorrow," he says, "but she says, 'Dad, I can't talk about people following their dreams and not have a place in this country where they can come to.' It's rewarding for her coming into the studio and seeing the kids believing in themselves."
Auckland University education lecturer Marian Pearce moved from Whangarei five years ago with her husband and two girls Kaea, now 17, and Ruthy, 13, so her daughters could dance with Parris. "Coming from Whangarei, I thought for them to make a career out of it we needed to move to the city.
We just took a gamble, really, to see if it would work."
The girls have now danced their way into The Palace's crews, and have both travelled to the World Hip Hop Dance Championships. Kaea is home-schooled, so her studies can fit around her full-time dance commitments.
Pearce sometimes thinks she was crazy to move cities, but that changes when she watches her daughters dance.
"When they're dancing they're like different people - I can't put my finger on it. They're just excelling; they're excelling in an area that isn't seen as sustainable but Parris has shown that it can be. My family sometimes look at me sideways because I'm an academic, but the girls are living the dream.
"We didn't move to Auckland to muck around - this is what I wanted my children to do and I knew she would provide results."
Parris is proud of both being Polynesian (LeeAnn is Samoan) and from South Auckland. Actually, she can get quite angry about it. In a 2010 interview with the New Zealand Herald, she voiced her annoyance at the "lack of recognition and support" when ReQuest got back from the World Champs: "No one even showed at the airport."
"Yeah, I feel like Polynesian youth are just overlooked sometimes; that's how I feel," she says. "It's always a surprise to [other people] when Polynesians do well, for some reason. I feel like people don't expect big things from Polynesians.
"I'm really inspired by black women. I really, really like Oprah [Winfrey]. Growing up, my mum was obsessed with Oprah, and I think I actually learnt a lot of life lessons from Oprah. I hope I meet her one day because I'm really inspired by her."
Right now, Parris is preparing for The Royal Family's sold-out Gold Mynd dance shows, in which she is re-imagined as a 13-year-old who gives herself 11 pieces of advice for the future.
She's just held rehearsals for New Zealand's first hip-hop feature film Born to Dance, written by playwright Hone Kouka, directed by Tammy Davis and supported by the Film Commission.
But this is really just the beginning, obviously. She hasn't even worked with Beyoncé or Madonna yet.
"I want to do shows - more shows. Films, shows, producing, dancing; all that stuff. I really want to create things that don't exist yet."
She leans forward, grabbing a lolly from a bowl on the table. "I don't like talking too much, I like showing an example in my actions. I grew up in Manurewa and I ended up choreographing for J-Lo. I feel like I don't need to tell people that. If they just know it, that's enough to know they can chase their dreams."
Samoan Youth most violent, most bullied according to UNICEF
Samoan teenagers aged 13-15 are among the most bullied and most violent youth in East Asia and the Pacific, says the United Nations Children’s Fund (U.N.I.C.E.F.).
A report released this month by the Agency, titled "Hidden In Plain Sight: A statistical analysis of violence against children," reveals that almost three quarters of Samoan youth have experienced bullying, while more than two thirds have reported being in a physical fight.
The report, written by the Agency’s Division of Data, Research and Policy, is based on data collected through the Global School-based Student Health Surveys (G.S.H.S.) and the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study (H.B.S.C.).
In regards to bullying, while Samoan youth may suffer the most at the hands of bullies, U.N.I.C.E.F. acknowledges this form of violence is a global problem.
“It exists at some level and in some form in every country,” the report reads.
Available data from 106 countries collected through the H.B.S.C. and G.S.H.S. show that the proportions of adolescents aged 13 to 15 who say they have recently experienced bullying ranges from 7 per cent in Tajikistan to 74 per cent in Samoa.
In 14 of the 67 low and middle income countries with available data, more than half of the student population said they recently experienced bullying.
These adolescents come from diverse parts of the world, from small Pacific Islands such as Vanuatu to large African nations including Kenya.
Not only are Samoan youth the most bullied, they are also the most group in the survey to get into fights – with almost 70 per cent of adolescents reporting being in a recent physical fight (see figure 6.3C right).
“Available data from a large cross-section of countries reveals that fighting among adolescents is a common occurrence,” the report reads.
More than half of adolescents reported involvement in a physical fight in countries as diverse as Djibouti, Mauritania, Samoa and Yemen.
Anywhere from 14 per cent of adolescents aged 13 to 15 in Cambodia to 68 per cent in Samoa reported engaging in a physical fight in the past 12 months.
It should be noted that U.N.I.C.E.F acknowledged that data needs for the report were often not met, with the quality and scope of research often limited and varying from country to country.
“While acknowledging these limitations, this report makes use of available evidence to describe what is currently known about global patterns of violence against children, using data compiled from a selection of sources,” U.N.I.C.E.F. reports.
“The analyses focus primarily on forms of interpersonal violence, defined as violent acts inflicted on children by another individual or a small group.
The types of interpersonal violence covered include those mainly committed by caregivers and other family members, authority figures, peers and strangers, both within and outside the home.
In its assessment of the available data, the Agency defines physical violence against children all corporal punishment.
“And all other forms of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as well as physical bullying and hazing by adults or by other children,” it reads.
‘Corporal’ (or ‘physical’) punishment is defined as any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light.
“Most involves hitting - smacking, slapping, spanking - children with the hand or with an implement (such as) a whip, stick, belt, shoe (or) wooden spoon."
“But it can also involve, for example, kicking, shaking or throwing children, scratching, pinching, biting, pulling hair or boxing ears, caning, forcing children to stay in uncomfortable positions, burning, scalding or forced ingestion.”
U.N.I.C.E.F. did issue a word of caution in defining such violence saying while specific forms of violence have a distinctive nature and can occur in isolation, any attempt to ‘categorise’ violence is a somewhat artificial undertaking.
“For one thing, the boundaries between acts of violence tend to become blurred,” the report reads.
“Sexual violence is often inflicted through the use of physical force and/or psychological intimidation. Moreover, experiences of violence often overlap."
“While some children may experience rare and isolated incidents of aggression, others may find themselves repeatedly exposed to multiple forms of abuse."
“In addition to the possible overlap of various types of violence, children can be victims, perpetrators and witnesses to violence – all at the same time.”
The Agency also states the protection of children from all forms of violence is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Convention on the rights of the Child and other international human rights treaties and standards.
“Yet violence remains an all-too-real part of life for children around the globe – regardless of their economic and social circumstances, culture, religion or ethnicity – with both immediate and long-term consequences,” it says.
“Children who have been severely abused or neglected are often hampered in their development, experience learning difficulties and perform poorly at school."
“They may have low self-esteem and suffer from depression, which can lead, at worst, to risky behaviours and self-harm.”
U.N.I.C.E.F. says witnessing violence can cause similar distress.
“Children who grow up in a violent household or community tend to internalise that behaviour as a way of resolving disputes, repeating the pattern of violence and abuse against their own spouses and children,” the report reads.
Beyond the tragic effects on individuals and families, violence against children carries serious economic and social costs in both lost potential and reduced productivity.
Over the last decade, recognition of the pervasive nature and impact of violence against children has grown.
Still, the Agency reports, the phenomenon remains largely undocumented and underreported.
“This can be attributed to a variety of reasons, including the fact that some forms of violence against children are socially accepted, tacitly condoned or not perceived as being abusive,” it says.
“Many victims are too young or too vulnerable to disclose their experience or to protect themselves."
“And all too often when victims do denounce an abuse, the legal system fails to respond and child protection services are unavailable."
“The lack of adequate data on the issue is likely compounding the problem by fuelling the misconception that violence remains a marginal phenomenon, affecting only certain categories of children and perpetrated solely by offenders with biological predispositions to violent behaviour.”
Looking now to the violence that most afflicts Samoa’s youth – bullying - U.N.I.C.E.F. says this type of violence refers to the use of aggression to assert power over another person.
“More specifically, it has been defined by researchers as actions, either physical or verbal, that have a hostile intent, are repeated over time, cause distress for the victim and involve a power imbalance between the perpetrator and victim,” the report reads.
As social dynamics have shifted over time, and with the growing use of information and communication technologies such as the Internet and cell phones, children are increasingly exposed to new forms of bullying.
A growing body of literature examines the prevalence, risk factors and impact of bullying on both victims and perpetrators.
However, much of the available evidence is derived from research conducted in the Western world.
The Agency says while research into the individual risk factors that lead to bullying has highlighted a variety of possible causes, a few factors have consistently been found to predict the likelihood that an adolescent or younger child will bully others.
“Those who have been maltreated by caregivers are significantly more likely to bully others, particularly those who have experienced physical or sexual abuse,” the report reads.
Witnessing parental physical abuse or domestic violence has also been documented as a strong risk factor for bullying.
In addition, research has identified hyperactivity-impulsiveness, low self-control and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as strong predictors of bullying.
“Children who bully tend to have weak inhibitions against aggression and are significantly more likely than victims of bullying to exhibit anger.”
U.N.I.C.E.F. says some research suggests that boys are more likely to bully others than girls and are more likely to use physical violence and threats.
“Girls, on the other hand, seem more prone to psychological/relational forms of bullying, which involve actions such as excluding others or spreading rumours,” it says.
For instance, in a national survey in Malta, researchers found that 61 per cent of boy bullies reported bullying others with physical violence, compared to 30 per cent of girl bullies.
In contrast, 43 per cent of girl bullies reported isolating others (not talking to them), compared to 26 per cent of boy bullies.
The Agency says many individual risk factors for being bullied have also been identified.
“Children who are bullied are often marginalized by their peers for a wide variety of reasons," it says.
“Risk factors include not having many friends, particularly those who can be trusted, and loneliness."
“Particular groups of children, such as ethnic minorities and those with disabilities, can be especially vulnerable to bullying."
“Teenagers may also be targeted because of their sexual orientation."
“For example, one study in the United Kingdom found that between 30 and 50 per cent of adolescents in secondary schools who were attracted to the same sex experienced homophobic bullying.”
The report says research highlights a wide range of negative long-term outcomes of bullying on both victims and perpetrators.
“Children who are bullied are likely to experience a range of negative psychological outcomes, including depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide and low life satisfaction,” the report reads.
“Across multiple ethnic groups, being bullied by peers has also been connected to a heightened risk of eating disorders and to social and relationship difficulties, such as loneliness and being socially withdrawn."
Furthermore, students who are bullied are more likely to experience academic difficulties, including underachievement, lower attendance and dropping out, among others.
“The social, emotional and psychological effects of bullying can be severe and can persist throughout childhood into adulthood.”
On the other hand, U.N.I.C.E.F. says numerous studies have also found a strong relationship between bullying others, increased depressive symptoms and thoughts of suicide.
“Bullying has been linked to future engagement in juvenile delinquency, including theft and robberies, vandalism, arson, physical attacks, gang involvement and the selling of drugs,” the report reads.
“Children who bully others also report increased rates of risky behaviours, including smoking and drinking, fighting, being injured in physical fights and carrying weapons.”
Looking now to another problem area for Samoa, fighting.
“Fighting generally involves conflict between two or more persons in which the distinction between perpetrators and victims is not always clear-cut,” U.N.I.C.E.F. reports.
“In some instances, both parties may have instigated or chosen to participate in the fight, while in others, one person may be fighting back in self-defence.
The literature on the subject suggests that children who are involved in fighting are more likely than those who are not to report a lack of perceived parental support in relation to school.
“They also report greater difficulties establishing close peer relationships, poor emotional health, less parental supervision, feelings of alienation from school and low academic success.”
SAMOA: Pacific women, youth to benefit from partnerships with UN
3 September 2014 – Women and youth must be seen as partners in development and involved, not just included, in decision-making, according to discussions at the United Nations conference on small island developing states which wraps up Thursday in Samoa.
“Girls are getting education and employment opportunities in the Pacific, but they also face harassment within school and work environments, as well as other social issues like domestic violence,” Tahere Si'isi'ialafia's Baha'I, 24, told UN Women in the capital Apia.
There are 91,000 Samoan women. According to official figures, the population of around 180,000 also includes 49,500 young people between the ages of 15 and 24.
“Youth representatives are often included in the preparatory stages of high-level conferences; however, when the outcome documents are released there is often little mention of youth concerns,” Ms. Baha'I said, such as youth employment or training opportunities.
At the four-day Third International Conference on Small Island and Developing States, one of the six multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues focuses on women and youth, as well as social development and health, including family planning and non-communicable diseases.
The overall goal of the partnerships is to bring together representatives of government, private sector, civil society and the UN family to network and partner for sustainable development on small island nations.
According to UN figures, islanders have high rates of teenage pregnancies, poor access to good quality education, and sexual support and reproductive health services, especially in rural areas.
Through a partnership with UN Women, the SVS group distributed cell phones to rural women in 2012, enabling them to report abuse to a centre helpline. In the first five months, some 1,700 calls were logged, according to Ms. Chang. The callers, whose ages ranged from 14 to 80, were put in contact with a counsellor or the police, as needed.
In 2005, the UN World Health Organization reported that 3 in 5 Samoan women had experienced physical violence, and 1 in 5 had suffered sexual violence. More than half of the abused women had not talked to anyone about it. Of those who sought help, 4 in 5 women characterized the abuse as “normal” or “not serious.”
The head of Samoa Victims Support Group (SVSG), Lina Chang, said that women in Samoa struggle with “feelings of being second best as well as being less educated and often need someone to turn to for help.”
Another issue facing rural women is climate change and erratic weather patterns which impact agriculture, particularly subsistence farming.
Speaking to the UN News Centre earlier this week, UN Special Envoy for Climate Change Mary Robinson stressed that “climate has to be an issue that women and young people and the very poorest have their voices heard.”
Mrs. Robinson is planning an event with her Foundation, UN Women and other partners to highlight the importance of women's participation on climate change, to coincide with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Climate Summit on 23 July.
A local women's rights advocate, Leilani Jackson, said that Samoan women are naturally vocal, many of them participate in women's committees in their towns, but she would like to see more of them “bring solutions to the table.”
One way to break the barriers might be through education, according to Tepora Wright. A former high school teacher in Samoan history and economics, Ms. Wright now works with the Government.
“Education expands the choices available to women and young people,” she said. “And I don't just mean in the formal sense, but also life skills, entrepreneurial skills which are usually transferred non-formally.”
In Samoa, many women are also finding such solutions in business. Micro-financing has enabled close to 1,000 rural women to set up successful small businesses.
For example, the art of traditional Samoan finemat weaving was revitalized over the past decade. Expert weavers can take up to six months to make an 'ie sae' from a particular type of panduna plant. The mats are so fine that a standard 9 by 12 ie sae can be folded up and put in a purse. Its price ranges near to $1,500.
A university lecturer on textiles and industries, Uila Leota is also a weaver. Her colourful handmade quilts, cushions and floor rugs are prominently displayed at the conference, and even attracted the attention of the head of UN Women.
Self-taught and self-motivated, Mrs. Leota is starting to share these skills with her teenage grand-daughters, so they can earn income to assist with family and school expenses. She told UN News Centre that she wants to share her skills with unemployed women.
One of the 300 partnerships announced this week is the “Women's Economic Empowerment Driving Sustainable Development in SIDS.” A Pacific partnership, it aims to increase women's access to finance and economic security, as well as create faster market places for women market vendors, who in the Pacific number up to 90 per cent.
The partnership includes UN Women, UN Development Progamme (UNDP), a microbank and banks, as well as Governments of at least seven countries, and street vendors.
Another joins women's parliamentarians and women's rights organizations with advocates to establish the Pacific Islands Women's Caucus to empower a movement that promotes women's democratic participation and leadership in the Pacific.
In Samoa, the Government unanimously passed a law last year reserving 10 per cent of parliamentary seats for women in an effort to improve women's political participation.
One of the longest serving Samoan MPs is a woman. Justice Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa followed her father's footsteps into politics as a young woman. She said that women are still a large untapped human resource and urged them to speak out with their own voices about the issues that matter.
Miss American Samoa Meagan Moana Palelei Ho Ching needs your support. please vote for the first girl from American Samoa to be a part of the Ms. U.S.A. competition.
June 24, 2014
Photos by Naomi Masina of Omiphoto.com
This is a press release from the Ms American Samoa USA Organization requesting our support for this young lady, Meagan Moana Palelei Ho Ching's entry in the Ms. USA Contest held in Washington DC later this year, but she needs our votes now. So please follow the instructions below and lets put her on the map.
PLEASE VOTE FOR MISS AMERICAN SAMOA (begins tonight-end date below) **please share and spread the word**:
PEOPLE'S CHOICE CONTEST - People's Choice advances one delegate to the Top 16 semifinalists during Sunday's shows, regardless of judging score. That means the People's Choice winner will re-compete for the chance to win the 2014 national title! It is a very exciting opportunity. People's Choice is selected through online charitable contribution, supporting the Almas Shriners Children's Hospital. Donations require a minimum $1.00 and each $1 counts as one vote. The fund raising website does require a small fee for each vote. On July 5 at midnight eastern standard time, (July 4 for American and Independent Samoa) the delegate in each division who has raised the most charitable contributions will advance to the Top 16. Throughout the voting period, we will release rankings in each division. Vote Miss American Samoa at www.musopeopleschoice.eventbrite.com for the People's Choice.
PHOTOGENIC CONTEST - The Photogenic Contest provides one winner in each division with a free photo shoot during pageant week with celebrity photographer Christopher Logan. This contest is *****FREE***** and simply requires your fans to vote - only one vote per delegate per person.
The contest is hosted via a Facebook app that requires voters "LIKE" the Official MUSO Fanpage. Please go to http://bit.ly/UCqTeV. When visiting the voting app, you can search for your name, find your profile and share this directly with your social media audience. Voters can also access the voting page by visiting www.facebook.com/missunitedstatesorganization. To keep up with Miss American Samoa US, please follow us at www.facebook.com/missamerican samoa #gomissus #missamericansamoaus #missunitedstates #teammeagan Meagan Moana Palelei People's Choice website www.musopeopleschoice.eventbrite.comPhotogenic - links to Facebook application http://bit.ly/UCqTeV
Christina Maiava Schaff
Miss American Samoa United States Organization
Ms. Ho Ching attends Harvard University in Boston, Massachussetts. She is both beautiful and intelligent and we are very lucky to have her represent American Samoa and Samoans all over the globe. Good luck Meagan.
Joe Tolo impresses the hosts of Extra