“O au o matua fanau”. This Samoan adage captures the preciousness of children as blessings bestowed upon parents, communities and nations. They are to be cared for and nurtured in an environment where their self-esteem and sense of destiny are secure. In due course they will also be depended on and responsible for the survival and posterity of their families, communities and nation.
As a strong advocate of child rights in Samoa, our child protection efforts have received a brutal battering with the news of the murder of a 15-year old boy last week.
It is incidents as such “which burns the blood and we feel quiet violent ourselves, when we hear the horror that our precious blessings have been subjected to”, as alluded to by the Chair of the SVSG Board, Mrs. Georgina Lui during her keynote address for the SVSG Dinner of Hope late last year. Mrs. Lui went on to say that “In moments of calm, I tell myself, the best way to fight the injustice is to support our President and her team as best I can – because we all know that violence is NOT the answer.”
But it is not only SVSG’s responsibility, or the parent’s responsibility, but a collective responsibility of a nation, as our children are our future.
Caring for a few of the children survivors of violence we have been able to save, at the Campus of Hope makes us appreciate the collective effort of the community in being the voice for the voiceless. But many more of our abused children, including the 15 year old boy being murdered over the week, are without a voice, and in severe situations, fall through the gap in our support system.
As a family, we can overcome evil. We can rise up and take a collective effort to save our children. If you hear or witness violence, please be the voice for the voiceless. Call SVSG’s Helpline on 800-7874. It is free and it is a 24-hour service. We respect your decision if you wish to remain anonymous, as long as that phone call will save a child’s life.
Our condolences to the grieving parents as they come to terms with this great loss. At SVSG, one life lost is one life too many. As such, we are calling for a unity in our stance in protecting our children.
President of SVSG Samoa