“It is a long road to recovery,” says the President of Samoa Victim Support Group, Siliniu Lina Chang. This was after the Group completed the first week of the Road to Recovery, the Monitoring and Evaluation process for work being done by SVSG on its Measles Outreach.
A total of 8 families who have lost loved ones to the measles were reached at Leauvaa, 6 were initially covered by the Measles Outreach and 2 extra families that have lost children to the measles recently. At Luatuanuu, SVSG visited the family of Fatima Filia Solomona, the 37 year old mother of seven children whose husband Filia Solomana was the 80th victim of the measles. In addition, 13 families whose members were infected with the virus were also visited.
Born out of the SVSG Measles Outreach, the Road to Recovery is the normal M & E part of any program undertaken by SVSG, to follow up on work being done and most importantly, to ensure that we are not one-off visitors to our families in the village communities.
SVSG’s statistics on the Measles Outreach show that a total of 1,216 people from 140 families in 37 villages in Upolu were reached; 70 deaths were recorded inclusive of 8 who were unregisterd at the time of the visits. This is the sustainability of SVSG’s work to the community. It is a service that is inclusive of the social, psychological and economic assistance to ensure that our families are well supported to be able to rebuild and move on.
According to Siliniu Lina Chang, “rebuilding our affected families with kindness, generosity and harwork is the normal part of our work as a support service organization, and we love it.”
The most notable observations from this week’s Road to Recovery work are both challenging and a blessing. First, we have seen how death have brought families closer together. There was an appreciative feeling towards life in general amongst the members of families who have lost loved ones to the measles, especially knowing how precious life is when seeing loved ones taken way too soon. SVSG will closely monitor the effect of this on the level of family violence reported from hereon as it is a very interesting trend being observed.
For other families, there remain to be too many children not in school as the parents are not yet fully recovered from the loss of their other children. Even the children who were affected by the measles and have recovered still looked weak. SVSG’s Psychosocial Team worked with these families during this week with follow up visits being scheduled, while its child protection work continues to look at the best interest of the child during this recovery period. It surely is a long road to recovery.
On more positive note, we have 14 unemployed nofotane women from the villages of Leauvaa and Luatuanuu voluntarily registered with SVSG’s economic empowerment program for nofotane women. SVSG will work with these women to assess their existing livelihood skill level for product development and linkages to market opportunities. At the same time, the SVSG (Junior) continues with its basic hygienic awareness and well-being assistance for the affected families.
The continued outpour of love and support from our communities here and abroad is humbling. “Thank you Jada Schultz-Faanana of the Hutt from Brisbane Australia for the donation of miscellaneous supplies and clothes; Lisa Ah Honi-Uini of Mapu Maia in Auckland for the donation of diapers, toiletries and many more; Rita Gorniak, the President of the Samoa Organization in San Diego California for pallets of donation received for the measles work; and last but not the least, Ms. Suzanna Rawson and the Pacific Forum Line team at Auckland New Zealand for coordinating the shipment of some of these donations to Samoa.”Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President