SAMOA: Fine arts program boosts employment, creativity
Students now able to select program as area of specialization
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Technical Center in Samoa has developed a successful fine arts program for its students. The program was one of three introduced in 2020. Students are developing skills in carving furniture, creating stained glass windows, designing stencils for fashion designers, carving wood and stone, producing artistic pictures, and much more.
In a recent newsletter article about the fine arts program, Mane Su’a, principal of the Don Bosco Technical Center, said, “As only five major programs were taught in the school, I saw the need for more programs to be added to the curriculum for student selection and the sustainable development of the school.”
The school provides customized furniture for customers. Prior to the addition of the program, the school would need to hire out for someone to decorate this furniture. Su’a decided to bring someone on staff who could both do this work and teach the students. The fine art program instructor joined the construction team and began working with final-year construction students, carving furniture and painting artworks.
By the end of the year, the program had broadened students’ skills and creativity, fostering positive relationships with customers. At the beginning of the 2021 academic year, the program was separated from the construction department and a new trainer was recruited to assist with the delivery of the program. It was also integrated into the first-year students’ curriculum and interested students were able to select the program as their area of specialization.
Su’a noted, “The skills taught in the program are rare, but much needed in the community, and therefore very expensive. I confidently anticipate that this program will not only give the school a competitive advantage but will benefit the students in the long run. The skills can be commercialized, and today they have become one of the most respectable, high-paying jobs a student could get.”
As the program continued to develop, they needed a larger space. Su’a is grateful to supporters who donated through the Australian Salesian Missions and the staff and students at Salesian College Chadstone for assisting with the development of a new building. The building has been completed and the students are thriving in their new space.
Su’a added, “Overall, this program is playing an important role in the holistic development of our students in making plans for their projects and promoting creativity and innovation. There will be an opportunity to market students’ work and the school simultaneously, thus increasing the chances of employability. Today, both students and the school are able to build relationships with other professionals and customers. This will allow us to share work, find potential clients and promote the students’ future careers.”
Although Samoa has made impressive progress in social development, many rural communities in the country grapple with an unequal distribution of wealth and benefits. Poorer communities in remote parts of the islands are particularly vulnerable, especially in areas most likely to be affected by cyclones or other natural disasters. Gender inequality is apparent as women strive and often fail to find the same work and income opportunities as men. Youth find it increasingly difficult to find livable wage employment in the country.
Photo courtesy of Australian Salesians Bulletin Autumn 2023
Australian Salesians Bulletin Autumn 2023
Salesian Missions – Samoa
World Bank – Samoa