Caring for the elderly and people with disabilities in Samoa has taken a new level when close to 30 participants to the Samoa Victim Support Group Caregivers Training will be graduating this Thursday, 14 December 2017.
The 3-months training had been approved by the Samoa Qualification Authorities as a Non Formal Learning Activity. In partnership with the Australian Pacific Technical College (APTC), SVSG had trained caregivers in the homes, on the basic skills on how to care for the elderly and the people with disabilities.
According to the APTC Country Manager Pat Vella, during the official opening of the program in 2016, “the training provides a life skill for everyday living.” This is what makes this graduation special.
One of the graduates from the program had also completed a Certificate III in Age Care & Community Services from the APTC in Suva Fiji.
The graduation ceremony will be held at the Samoa Stationery & Books Conference Room, kindly sponsored by Aumua Ming & Fiti Leung Wai.
Thank you to ANZ Bank (Samoa Limited), Federal Pacific Finance, Lesa’s Telephone Services and many others who have sponsored the training program.
“Last but not the least, thank you to the Program Accreditation Team from the Samoa Qualification Authority for working in partnership with SVSG to ensure that the Caregivers Training meets the requirements for it to be recognized as Non Formal Learning.” Siliniu Lina Chang
Samoa Victim Support Group is once again blessed by the generosity of the community willing to provide partnership support for its work with the sheltered children.
Solomona Taualofai operates a small organic farm called ‘Island Farm Samoa’. During November, Solomona expressed an interest to SVSG to raise funds for the sheltered children for Christmas.
Through the social media, Solomona has started advertising on the Island Farm Samoa page about the upcoming event – The Christmas Charity Lunch – to be held at the Eleele Fou (in front of the Government Building) on Thursday, 14 December 2017 at 12.00pm.
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SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledges the heart behind the initiative by Solomona Taualofai and the staff at Island Farm Samoa. “Thank you so much Solomona for remembering the children at the shelter this Christmas. We wish you well in your fundraising drive for the children at the Campus of Hope.”
“To all of SVSG supporters out there, come down to the Eleele Fou (in front of the Government Building in Apia) and enjoy an organic lunch while supporting Island Farm Samoa’s fundraising Christmas Charity Lunch.” Siliniu Lina Chang
It was a night that both men and women who participated in a rehabilitation programme will remember.
Facilitated by the Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.), sixty-two male and female offenders referred from the Family Courts were presented with certificates after completing various counselling programmes.
Families and friends of the graduates gathered at the Congregational Christian Church youth hall at Sogi on Thursday to witness the milestone achievements.
Family Court Judge, Talasa Atoa Saaga gave a fitting keynote address for the invited guests, families and supporters of S.V.S.G.
“I congratulate the whole class for making it to the end.
“Records say that from 2013 up until now, 1,980 offenders have been referred by the Court to SVSG’s Advocacy Program, and only 50 or 2% have appeared again before the Court for reoffending.”
Judge Talasa also acknowledged the hard work of the six facilitators who helped in the rehabilitation programme.
Nanai Leatunu’u spoke on behalf of the graduates.
“I thank the Heavenly Father for making this a memorable night for all of us. Each and every one of us has achieved our own goals.
“I hope the programme that we have been through for three to six months has renewed ourselves not to reoffend again.”
It is that time of the year when the spirit of giving highlights humanity at its best. This was noted today at the main office of the Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG) when the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Labor (MCIL), Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling and staff visited, bearing in kind and monetary gifts for SVSG and its work.
When presenting the gifts, Mr. Chu Ling noted that the MCIL staff know how hard SVSG’s work can be and how SVSG relies on donations to continue. As such the staff social club has been fundraising to help support SVSG and its work.
Bulk food supplies, miscellaneous toiletry supplies and a cheque of $1,000 were presented by representative of the MCIL staff to SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang.
During this year, SVSG has been working with MCIL on rolling out workplace awareness workshops on domestic workers and the legal responsibilities of their employers, as part of the Nofotane Project being implemented with UN Women Fund for Gender Equality.
In addition, Mr. Chu Ling has been a regular visitor at the Campus of Hope in his capacity as an Elder for the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, as the Church has been assisting with the children’s welfare needs.
When accepting the donation, SVSG President acknowledged the kind hearts of the staff and their spirit of giving. “Thank you so much Pulotu and the MCIL staff social club for these gifts which will assist us with the daily needs of the children. We pray that you will not forget us, now that you know how hard being a support service provider can be.” Siliniu Lina Chang
Bank of South Pacific (B.S.P.) has stepped in once again to help the community.
This time the recipient is the Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.).
On Friday, the bank has built a new kitchen at the S.V.S.G. School of Hope in Tuanaimato and sales booth at the Fugalei market to Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.).
Presented by B.S.P. General Manager, Taituuga Maryann Lameko-Vaai, the community project is an initiative that is implemented across the Pacific region, in all the countries that B.S.P. trades in.
For the year 2017, the theme is Empowering Women and Children so B.S.P. Samoa chose to partner with S.V.S.G.
“As an organisation, part of our culture is to be fully engaged and committed to the wellness of the communities that we operate in. This project is one of the many ways that we show Samoa and the Pacific that, B.S.P. cares and we have a social responsibility to give back to the community,” said Taitu’uga.
Through this partnership, B.S.P. found an avenue to assist with S.V.S.G.’s current activities by securing a booth at the Fugalei market to sell goods produced from their Nofotane project. A new kitchen was also built at the S.V.S.G. School of Hope.
“In our discussions with Siliniu Lina, she explained that the kitchen and cooking facilities were not ideal for the residents of this campus. So today I am pleased to hand over a new kitchen and cooking facilities as an extension to the fale Samoa, to encourage the young girls and children to assist with cooking and chores and perhaps work on their culinary skills and maybe become chefs in the future.”
The projects were presented to S.V.S.G. President, Siliniu Lina Chang and S.V.S.G. Patron, Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau.
For the first time since Samoa Victim Support Group ran the Advocacy Program to rehabilitate men and women offenders of violence referred from the Family Court for counselling, a combined graduation ceremony will be held.
The graduation will be take place at the Congregational Christian Church Hall, Sogi on Thursday, 30 November 2017 at 7.00pm.
Close to 100 graduates will be awarded with a Certificate of Completion after successfully completing counselling under the SVSG Advocacy Program.
The program gears towards behavioral change, giving the offenders of violence a second chance to change for the sake of their families to address family violence.
It is SVSG’s holistic approach to addressing family violence by working with not only the victims, but also the offenders. Since 2014, close to 800 referrals from the Family and Youth Courts have been attending the SVSG Advocacy Program.
The graduation ceremony culminates the 2017 Advocacy Program. It is a celebration not only for those who have successfully completed the program, but more so for their families, who provided the important support system necessary for the offenders to continue living in harmony with their loved ones.
As family, SVSG village representatives in villages throughout Samoa will continue to monitor the progress of the rehabilitated men and women from its Advocacy Program. At the same time, the graduates from this year’s graduation will join the Alumni from the Program who will advocate for violence free families and communities at the grassroot level.
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledges the partnership with the Ministry of Justice and Court Administration in addressing family violence through working with the offenders.
Close to 50 Samoa Primary School students of the Year 8 Leo Club, visited the children at the Campus of Hope for the first time this week.
Accompanied by the school principal Mrs. Sue Su’a and teachers, the students conducted a prayer service, reminding the children of hope about God’s love and the many other people who love them.
The Leo Club is a universal community club. The word “Leo” stands for Leadership, Experience, Opportunity and the Leo Club encourages youths to develop leadership qualities by participating in social services activities.
During the visit, the Year 8 students of the Leo Club of the Samoa Primary School took a leadership role in their social activity at the Campus of Hope, as they lead their prayer service, their talk with the children and their entertainment. Principal Sue Su’a and teachers are commended for encouraging the students to support other children in need.
SVSG President was at the Campus to acknowledge the support from the Samoa Primary School through their visit and donation of fruits.
“Thank you so much Sue and the teachers for including a visit to the children of hope in the Year 8 Leo Club’s social activity for this year. We look forward to continuing this partnership between the Samoa Primary and the School of Hope.” Siliniu Lina Chang
They may be from abroad and speak a different language with a different culture, but they share the will to rise up similar to that of the children survivors of violence and sexual abuse cared for at the Campus of Hope. This week, students attending the Coral Reef Academy (CRA) visited the children at the Campus in a continuing partnership approach to help each other out.
Previously, the students from Coral Reef have planted a veggie garden for the children, helped the children with their reading, or volunteering at the SVSG main office.
This week, they were accompanied by Mrs. Donjoe Bryce-Fepuleai and staff to clean up the Campus of Hope compound. And they did a good job at it, mowing the lawn, sweeping and weeding. According to one of the students from the Academy, “It feels close to home, I wish someone was there for me before like how these children are well cared for.”
Such is the benefit of the continuing partnership between Samoa Victim Support Group and the Coral Reef Academy in Samoa. It enables the Academy students and the children survivors to encourage each other on, as they each child tries to rise up from the different circumstances in live, they have been through.
SVSG President is grateful to the Chief Executive Officer of the Coral Reef Academy for continuing the partnership between the Academy and SVSG. “Having the Academy students relate well to the experience of the SVSG children of hope is an advantage for our organization’s work to rehabilitate the children. Thank you so much for the valuable partnership.” Siliniu Lina Chang
Children come to us shattered by the horror of the abuse, traumatized by the horrendous rape, pregnant from incest, and numbed from being abandoned by their loved ones. They entered the Campus of Hope as lost children with lost hopes. At the Campus, the only shelter facility for children available in Samoa and operated by the Samoa Victim Support Group, our children survivors of violence and neglect are loved, nurtured, and rehabilitated into strong individual heroes that they are.
Today, our heroes held hands under the warm sun, in the safe surroundings of the Campus of Hope, appreciating another beautiful day, thanks to the merciful love of our God, for without his favor in their lives, they will not be saved. SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang, staff and volunteers joined in the celebration by the children.
In prayer, this is the Children of Hope’s way of voicing their support for millions of their peers worldwide who are unprotected, uprooted and unschooled. It is a solidarity movement by the children residence of the Campus of Hope.
The transformation from being voiceless to having the courage to voice a prayer of thanksgiving was just a humbling experience to be a part of. It highlighted their recovery journey, their resilience and their grateful hearts.
Father Eteuati Lapa of the Siusega Parish of the Catholic Church, Deacon and Chairman of the Council of Churches in Samoa Kasiano Leaupepe, experienced this gratefulness when they joined the prayer celebration by the children. They held hands with an abused child on one side and a pregnant child on the other. The picture speaks volume for a Family and its strength as one held on to the other, while relying on our Heavenly Father for guidance and support.
Speaking to the children after the prayer, Deacon Kasiano reminded them that they are special and are well loved. The Siusega Parish donation of food and clothing is just their way of reaching out and supporting them while in residence at the Campus of Hope, and in line with the Church’s donation for the poor and those in need.
SVSG President expressed her gratitude and appreciation to Father Eteuati, Deacon Kasiano and representatives from the Siusega Parish of the Catholic Church for being part of the Children of Hope’s prayer celebration for World Children’s Day 2017. “To our children at the Campus, you are our heroes, and you make us all proud today.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
An Executive Member of the SVSG (Junior), Gordon Lemisio today joined the economic empowerment training for the nofotane women at Siumu, in his search for innovative ways to assist the unemployed youth of Samoa.
The SVSG (Junior) is the youth sub-group of Samoa Victim Support Group, and Gordon’s mission finds him amongst the unemployed nofotane women of Siumu, wanting to learn from them, their struggles, their aspirations, and their willingness to be economically empowered to support themselves and their families.
Over the years, the SVSG (Junior) has focused more on addressing family violence through community awareness programs, anti-bullying programs in schools and outreach programs for the sick children in hospitals.
Gordon’s mission therefore takes the SVSG (Junior) further into understanding the problems behind youth unemployment, youth dropped out from school, and troubled youth.
And as the Nofotane Project continues in village communities to train unemployed nofotane women on livelihood skills, an interested trend now saw an increasing number of unemployed male youth attending the training in flower arrangement, elei printing, commercial cooking and handicraft.
For Gordon, he is a youth male advocate for violence free families and his mission starts with the youth.
President of SVSG Samoa