KIVA project: Elei printing business in Samoa

The first project that we’ve funded with the donations received through Ko-fi, is to Vaimanino in Samoa, who is using her loan to buy rolling materials, paint color, paint brush, Elei designs for Elei printing, containers, and a printing machine.

If you enjoy my podcasts and Vlogmas and would like to contribute the price of a coffee to help fund other projects please check out my Ko-Fi page.

Vaimanino is expanding her business from selling supplies for Elei printing at a local market stall and hopes to eventually open a village shop selling supplies and fabrics.

Where in the world is… Samoa?

I admit I had to look it up as I had no idea. Geography has never been my strong point and I have a terrible sense of direction. Google maps reveals that the Samoan Islands are extremely remote, located in the Pacific Ocean, about half way between the land masses of Australia to the west and South America to the east.

Vaimanino’s business fabric printing using traditional Samoan designs. Elei printing involves making complex blocks that are carved with traditional designs; fabric paint is applied to the blocks and these are then used to print fabrics. Its one form of Siapo, an ancient Samoan art form that was originally done using dyes and pigments from local plants – roots, bark, leaves and berries, like this one from the National Museum of Samoa.

Why the loan is important

Getting a loan for a business in Samoa is very difficult, particularly for women. The average annual income is US$5200. Vaimanino is 39 years old, has 5 children and has been running her current business for a year. She is using the loan to expand and will pay it back over the next 15 months,

Find out more about Elei printing and Kiva

  • The Museum of Samoa has published a series of photographs on Flickr showing a workshop in which a group is producing traditional fabric prints.
  • You can see more traditional Samoan stencils available through this Facebook page.
  • You can look into the tradition of Siapo and its two forms, Elei printing and Mamanu in this extensive website.
  • Find out more about the work of KIVA here and check out the Crafternoon Treats funding page here. This is a pdf of the current portfolio (15 December 2019) so will change as we fund more projects during 2020.
Traditional Siapo motif