Many were starting to wonder, “what happened to the SVSG Juniors, the youth sub-group of Samoa Victim Support Group?” Well wonder no more. On Friday afternoon, the enthusiastic youths that made up the SVSG Juniors took it to the streets of Apia during their first activity for 2017, the Walkathon, from the Malaefatu Playground at Sogi to the Marina at Matautu. The rain did not dampen the spirit of the Team and their supporters as they walked to raise funds for their community-based projects.
The Walkathon was coordinated by the new executive of the SVSG Juniors and we are proud to introduce them for their bravery and commitment to be the future leaders of the SVSG:
President: Carmenita Solaese / Vice: Rahmat Faumui
Secretary: Aiga Malo / Vice: Ianeta Sa’u
Treasurer: Akenese Fonoti / Vice: Vincent Laumoli
Sports Rep: Vailolo Farani and Ken Sonny
Supporting Members: Temukisa Faumui and Nofovaleane Alatupe
The former SVSG Junior President Mr. Nathan Ryan together with their executive members have progressed onto the main SVSG, while the young ones continue with the youth group. Mr. Ryan is mentoring these young volunteers so that they will not lose sight of why they have put up their hands to volunteer.
At the moment there are now thirty members of the SVSG Juniors and it will continue to grow as long as you want to start putting up your hand to engage in your community in a meaningful way. Contact any of these members of the executive or the office to join the Juniors and you are set to go. We welcome you all as you will most likely be the future for the SVSG as young people are fresh and they come with new ideas to improve.
Always remember that this group was not established by experienced older people in the community. It was established by a group of young people fresh out of law school, who did not know anything at the time but only saw pain that they did not think existed in Samoa because of their privilege upbringing. So it was an idea born from young people.
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“God is good, all the time.” This is from Baby Matauaina’s parents as they were today, presented with a cheque and a return ticket for that life-saving mission to New Zealand.
The response to the parents call for help last Friday has been tremendous. Immediately after seeing Baby Matauaina’s story on SVSG Facebook, the Director of the Little Angels Foundation of New Zealand, Mr. Taa Lo Tam called up SVSG to pledge the Foundation covering the air fares for the mother. Soon after, donations specifically for Baby Matauaina from 3 donors in New Zealand were posted on SVSG’s Givealittle page.
At SVSG’s Office today, President Siliniu Lina Chang, on behalf of the generous donors, presented to the grateful parents of Baby Matauaina a return ticket for the mother valued at ST1,343.30 from the Little Angels Foundation, and a cheque of ST519.75 for NZ330.00 from Lisa Sutton, Gaylene Rowe and Fiona Shearing all of New Zealand, donating on SVSG’s Givealittle page.
Baby and her mother will fly off to New Zealand on Tuesday, 11 April at 2.20pm for that emergency operation, thanks to the Little Angels Foundation and the individual donors.
“Thank you for enabling Baby Matauaina a chance to life, through her medical evacuation. As we each prepare ourselves this Holy Week to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice by our Savior Jesus Christ for us all, let us not forget Baby Matauaina in our prayers.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
Samoa Victim Support Group’s partnership with the Piula Theological College is inclusive of people with disabilities.
This week, the children cared for at the Campus of Hope were once again hosted by the Principal of the Theological College, the reverends and their wives, during a community engagement activity at Piula, as part of this partnership.
All the children, including our children with disabilities, had the opportunity to be out there in the community, enjoying the fellowship with the reverends and their wives, swimming at the pool, and feeling the love and support of a community.
For our epilepsy children and those confined in wheelchairs, they also got to enjoy this fun activity. They were helped into the pool, sat under the trees and played with the rest of the children. Watching the children open up to others is a step towards regaining lost confidence as we continue with their rehabilitation programs while under our care.
SVSG President and some of the staff and volunteers accompanied the children during this community engagement.
“Thank you so much Reverend Dr. Mosese Mailo, the reverends and your wives for honoring your partnership commitment to supporting the work of SVSG. We wish you well as we commemorate the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
The parents of 4-months old Baby Matauaina is in an anxiety state as their child’s life depends on a Good Samaritan who could pay for her airfares to New Zealand for medical treatment.
The child is suffering from a congenital heart disease and has been admitted in the Intensive Care Unit of the National Hospital since early March 2017.
The government is covering all the medical treatment in New Zealand while the family has to pay for the travel expenses. With the father being the only breadwinner in the family, the parents are running against time as the urgency of Baby Matauaina’s condition requires her to undergo an operation as soon as possible. As such, they have approached Samoa Victim Support Group for help. SVSG is now advocating for support for Baby Matauaina.
To our family of supporters out there, please help us save this child. The mother and her child needs USD1,000 for airfares to New Zealand.
If you wish to donate for Baby Matauaina’s medical evacuation, please do so through SVSG’s Givealittle page on SVSG’s website.
Thank you and God bless!
Four children ages 13 – 15 have suffered physical and sexual abuse in the homes and at school, as reported to Samoa Victim Support Group within a period of one week. Three of the four children are now under court Protection Orders and as minor, SVSG has to apply for court protection on their behalf. SVSG became their voice.
For the physically abused children, severe injuries were sustained. For the sisters who were sexually abused from within the homes, the injuries run deeper, and a cause for great concern. Three of the children are now under SVSG’s shelter care including the two sisters. Counseling are provided while the case is with the Police.
In all the 4 cases, it was not the children who reported the matter to SVSG simply because they were afraid, but those outside of the family who showed that they care. A Principal who could have turned a blind eye to visible signs of abuse on one of his students; a Church Minister who saw injuries on a child being abused by not just one but three teachers from a College; and an SVSG village representative who could have minded his own business yet was suspicious of 2 young girls, once so vibrant and full of life, yet seem withdrawn and lost. Strangers became the voice for these abused children when they referred the cases to SVSG for assistance.
As the voice of the voiceless, SVSG has to heard against all the noise and pressure to hide what happened to these children as it refers all the cases to Police and further to the Court when applying for Protection Orders. And SVSG would not have been able to become the voice of the abused children without the members of community who made that initial call. Thank you for being responsible citizens.
SVSG President therefore appeals to members of the public to work together with us in protecting our children. “Please, we are just a phone call away. Our 24-hour Help Line is free. Call 800-7874 or our office phone on 25392.” Siliniu Lina Chang
They are running a supper run today where every food purchase of AUD $20.00 made, AUD $5.00 of that money goes into their project of building the house of strength. It is always a blessing to see that as far as Melbourne in Australia our Samoan people care about what happens to Samoa and those in Samoa. The house of strength is meant to be a building in the campus of hope at Tuanaimato in Samoa. The Board of SVSG appreciates the commitment of SVSG Melbourne and their dedication to this long term goal.
Pacific Eats a family operated restaurant in Melbourne decided that on 18 March 2017 they would contribute to helping out SVSG by helping our Melbourne group on their supper run. With their smiling face the family of Pacific Eats donned SVSG shirts to show their support of SVSG. To thank this family we call on all our supporters, friends and members to keep this restaurant in mind when in Melbourne. Thank you Pacific Eats.
Their smile says it all, as Pamela Andrewartha and Raelene Granthon received their Certificate of Recognition for being ‘Outstanding Volunteers’ with Samoa Victim Support Group. And these two childhood friends from Canberra and South Australia have a reason to be all smiles, as they are the first ever volunteers with SVSG to have received such honorary recognition, and well deserved one at that.
Proud in their flora locally made dresses, Pamela and Raelene shared with SVSG on why they kept coming back to help out at the Campus of Hope; Pamela being her third time and Raelene’s second time. Says Pamela, “I remembered when I first came in 2015, and how I was put on the spot from the start, that this is Samoa, not Australia. I did not realize the relevance of that reminder until I worked at the nursery shelter, and seeing the marvelous job these people were doing with the meager resources they have. Simply amazing!”
After 6 weeks of volunteering at the Campus, with all their expenses self-funded, our honorary volunteers are not calling it quits yet. Despite their age and the difficulty of travelling, they are willing to continue with their support, if not here in Samoa, then in Australia through hosting members of SVSG when they visit.
This is the extent of the growth of the SVSG Family, as Pamela and Raelene have become the latest addition. Pamela has sealed her membership further with a tattoo.
SVSG President acknowledges on behalf of the Patron, the hearts of these ladies to volunteer for SVSG. “As the first ever volunteers to be recognized for ‘Outstanding Volunteer’ work, you should be proud of yourselves, just like how we are proud of you both.” Siliniu Lina Chang.
Pamela and Raelene will return home to Australia on Saturday, but they will always be remembered as the ladies with the hearts.
Samoa Victim Support Group is celebrating International Women’s Day 2017 by honoring the ‘Empowered Women’ the Champions of Family Violence in Samoa.
As part of a 2-year project with UN Women Fund for Gender Equality (FGE), SVSG through its village representatives is working with village and church leaders, to gauge support for the economic empowerment of women, with specific focus on Nofotane Women.
The Project targets 5,000 unemployed women to be trained on income generating skills with the aim to ensure sustainable self-employment for 500 of these women.
Through previous projects, SVSG had empowered women survivors of violence with disabilities in Upolu and Savaii, with livelihood skills now enabling them to be self-sufficient, through income earned from their small business activities.
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day 2017, SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang congratulates all the women of Samoa, especially women survivors of violence and women at risk, who have been economically empowered through its program.
“Thank you to UN Women FGE for financially supporting SVSG’s work to empower the women of Samoa through skills development. They are the Champions among us, and are congratulated for their bravery.” Siliniu Lina Chang
Happy International Women’s Day to the Empowered Women of Samoa.