On 15 May 2020, the Australian High Commissioner to Tonga, H.E. Adrian Morrison congratulated 10 participants who completed a two-weeks skills training on wood carving and making carving tools. The training was facilitated by Tonga Skills in collaboration with training provider, Mr Steven Fehoko, in response to a training request from the Fisi’ihangale community group of Popua village.
During the training, conducted from 4-15 May 2020, participants learned: the skills of carving a variety of objects and ornaments made from wood; how to make their own carving tools by using recycled and available resources; and how to turn their wood carving skills into a good source of income.
The participants included handicraft business owners and community members who were interested to learn from the trainer, Steven Fehoko, who is a local artisan with over 30 years of experience in wood carving
“Participants completed five days of training each in wood carving and learning the art of wood artefacts which focussed on the use of local resources in addition to the mentoring and guidance from the trainer. The training also increased the visibility of micro-small business owners who are keen to support economic activities in the community at large, “ said H.E. Adrian Morrison in an address to the participants and guests at the closing program at the Fehoko Oceanic Art Gallery in Popua.
At the end of the closing program, His Excellency toured the handicraft display produced by the participants over the training period.
Enhanced wood carving skills benefit family- owned handicraft business
Participants Sione and Louini Ma’u of Popua village make a living by selling their handicrafts. Through the training, they were able to enhance their skills and explore other ways of expanding their business.
‘’We are so happy with the training. We usually buy miniature handicraft pieces for decorating our ‘kafa’ (woven traditional belt), but the training has taught us the skill or making them ourselves. We can also make magnetic pieces using recycled materials. These skills help to improve our business so that we can better provide for our family, our children and our grand-children,” said Sione.
Tonga Skills is an initiative of the Australian Government that aims to provide equitable access to quality based and demand driven skills development contributing to sustainable economic growth in Tonga. Tonga Skills works in partnership with the Tonga Ministry of Education and Training and the Tonga National Qualifications and Accreditation Board.