I have been helping and supporting students with their projects while we stay in Poutasi Village. Project-based learning that enhances employability skills for job-readiness is both challenging and rewarding.
It is so wonderful to see students begin to master their own learning curve, ask probing and deep questions and initiate their own learning. I have been (with students) spending some time with Tammy the Chief of the Poutasi Village’s wife. She has been such a great bridge for us, unlocking hidden meanings around culture and the work that is being done with the Poutasi Development Trust. Students are able to ask Tammy lots of questions to help them with their projects for the community. We have also had some great learning occur around Social Enterprise that CERES have been conducting for the group. It is really interesting to make the connections and develop new ones when it comes to environmental concerns, community projects and employability.
The ladies at the Poutasi Crafts Centre have been so friendly and warm. I have enjoyed my cups of tea, making my own lavalava print, and watching how the talented women weave baskets. It is difficult to imagine that this Village was once devastated by the 2009 tsunami and that the Crafts Centre has only been open for one year. This particular social enterprise (community-based project) has really come far. It is wonderful to see that Swinburne students can also contribute and help develop and make recommendations for the Poutasi Village members. The Samoans are very generous when it comes to listening and answering our questions and allowing us to contribute and be apart of the ongoing process.
Written by Dr Rachael Hains-Wesson