A newly wed from New Zealand who got married last week here in Samoa, visited Samoa Victim Support’s office, with in kind and financial donation for the children at the Campus of Hope.
Mr. & Mrs. Michael Tuatagaloa, together with their families and friends, presented donations of food and toiletry supplies, reading books and $1,000 to assist SVSG with the wellbeing of the children survivors of violence, and sexual abuse under its shelter care.
During the donation presentation, Michael shared the story behind this charity gesture, one that is familiar to SVSG and the family of supporters that it gathered over the years.
Michael Tuatagaloa was a former employee of the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, before he moved to New Zealand in 2015. It was while he was working at Tanoa that he met the children of hope, when the children were singing Christmas carols to acknowledge Tanoa Tusitala’s support for the Campus of Hope. Michael went home angry that night, and felt for the children and what they have gone through. He wanted to help them in any way he could.
Returning home to get married, Michael and Lagaauoletaua Tuatagaloa, together with their families and friends from here and abroad, have put together the donation, presented to Samoa Victim Support Group for the children of hope. There is hope in humanity after all, as this newly wed started their journey together as a family, by giving to charity.
On behalf of the SVSG Board “thank you to both families - the Sapolu and the Tuatagaloa, and the friends, of Michael and Lagaauoletaua for supporting them through this charitable donation for the children of hope. We wish the newly wed God’s blessings, and look forward to seeing you again when you next visit.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President.
Baby Matauaina, who left Samoa for an emergency operation in New Zealand for a congenital heart disease, returned home this week with a grateful heart, for the support from the Little Angels Foundation of New Zealand.
In April this year, the parents of the 4-month old Baby Matauaina at the time, sought SVSG’s support for the mother’s airfare, so she could accompany her child for a life-saving operation in New Zealand. Through the Little Angels Foundation, SVSG was able to help this child and her family.
Baby Matauaina had her open heart surgery on 20 April 2017 at the New Zealand Starship Hospital and it was successful. She was then in a recovery period for three months with relatives in New Zealand. She is now 7 months old and is a beautiful little girl, full of life.
Visiting the office today, the grateful mother Joyce Iliganoa Leota, thanked the Little Angels Foundation for its contribution in saving Baby Matauaina’s life. She says “Thank you so much to the Little Angels Foundation and to Samoa Victim Support Group for enabling me to accompany my child during her operation. As a mother, I am grateful to God and to you all for your support.”
The Little Angels Foundation, working in partnership with SVSG to help children from underprivileged families, stepped in, and paid for the mother’s air fare. In addition, SVSG received donations from Lisa Sutton, Gaylene Rowe and a Guest Donor on SVSG’s Givealittle page, which was presented to the mother before they departed.
SVSG President acknowledged with gratitude the support from the Director and the supporters of the Little Angels Foundation, for continuing to help the children of Samoa in need, through its partnership with SVSG. “I would also like to say thank you to all those who donated via the Givealittle page, for the heart to help Baby Matauaina.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
She’s a diplomat, a wife, and a mother, but to the children survivors of violence and sexual abuse cared for by Samoa Victim Support Group at the Campus of Hope, she is a friend. She is non other than H.E Angelina Wilkinson, the former Charge de Affaire for the United States of America Embassy in Samoa, who two years ago, made her mark felt in the lives of the children of hope, by being exactly that, a friend.
While Angelina and her family were busy with their farewell functions as their term came to an end here in Samoa, the children of hope did not want to miss out. They too wanted to thank Angelina and her family for supporting them; the Easter egg hunt before Good Fridays, a tradition by the Charge de Affaire office she continued; the visits at the shelter every now and then to hold the babies or to the pat a child on the head in encouragement; the facilitation of donations amongst her network of friends which greatly assisted in the daily caring of the children; and above all, the belief in SVSG from the start.
To acknowledge all these, the children at the Campus hosted a farewell for Angelina. In their own simple ways, they showed Angelina that her help made a difference in their recovery journeys. They made her dance even in her emotional state, they made her laugh with entertainments themselves, and they made her remember the love she shared with them, even if it were through the simple gifts they made as part of their rehabilitation program. The children showed Angelina that she has been a part of their recovery journey through her love and support.
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang was at the children’s farewell, to convey the Board’s gratitude and appreciation for the financial, the in kind and the moral support she provided while in Samoa. “Thank you so much Angelina and your lovely family for the belief in SVSG, that despite the difficulties we encountered, you were always there to cheer us on. Thank you for being a loyal member of the SVSG family.”
Angelina and her family will be leaving Samoa, but the children of hope will always remember her as a friend with a big heart.
God continues to provide for us each day through the outpour of love and support from the community. On Friday afternoon, the last ferry from Savaii brought over donations of food and other supplies from the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints Tapueleele Welfare Stake.
The donation shows the heart of our people to assist with the daily caring of the children of hope, despite their own daily struggles to provide for their families. We are humbled by our people’s giving hearts and at the same time, amazed by the merciful love of God on us.
The Board of SVSG acknowledges the commitment by the leaders of the LDS Church to its partnership with SVSG, as the different stakes of the Church both in Upolu and Savaii, continue to donate to assist with the welfare needs of the children under our care.
“On behalf of the Board, thank you Bishop Avefua and President of the Aualofa - Faaiuga Salima for coordinating this donation for the children.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
The Women’s Fellowship from the Seventh Day Adventist Church for the Faleono District, took time out from their normal motherly duties to pay the children at the Campus of Hope a visit.
The leader of the Women’s Fellowship Mrs. Fitimauta was accompanied by members from Maagiagi, Vailele, Laulii,Vailoa Saoluafata and Fusi Saoluafata, that make up the Faleonon District.
Bearing gifts of food supplies such as bags of rice, boxes of noodles, cartons of chicken, bags of taro and banana, and a donation of $500.00, the mothers from the Fellowship encouraged the children to be strong and that through the power of prayer, they will rise up.
For the children, they were blessed by the knowledge that they have the love of the community as expressed by the mothers from the Fellowship during their visit.
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang was at the Campus to acknowledge the support from the Women’s Fellowship of the SDA Faleono District. “The Seventh Day Adventist is one of the church partners for SVSG’s work with the children, and your being here reminded the children that they are special, because they have the love of the community. Faafetai, Faafetai, Faafetai tele lava.”
The Campus of Hope at Tuanaimato was the venue for the Humanitarian Workers program when the Samoa Red Cross hosted the Regional Red Cross Rapid Gender Analysis, Sexual and Gender Based Violence Workshop.
The visit enabled the participants to the Regional Workshop to gain real life experience on the humanitarian work by Samoa Victim Support Group when meeting the children of hope.
They were touched by their engagement with the children, and were amazed by the facilities, especially the hearts of the many people that has made the Campus a reality. And the Director of the Samoa Family Health Association, Mrs. Lia’i Siitia was vocal on organisations working collaboratively for our people, because despite the different services we provide, the final beneficiaries are our people.
For one of the participants, Tusi from Tuvalu, “It is very different to just read about the statistics and issues, but having to actually see the children of hope is an eye opener to the extremity of the consequences of the sexual violation and Sexual and Gender Based Violence.” And in comparing the humanitarian work of the Red Cross to the support services of SVSG, the Secretary General of the Samoa Red Cross Namulauulu Tautala Mauala said that “I feel guilty because I now realise that the Red Cross should do much more for the victims.” The same sentiment was shared by Mata of the Cook Islands Red Cross who noted that “There are lots of funding opportunities available to the Red Cross and the countries should make full use of these for support work.”
To mark the beginning of a collaborative working relationship between SVSG and the Red Cross, a donation of $500 was presented by the Federation towards the security for the children at the Campus. Because as Cameron of the Solomon Islands commented “Where there are children, there is a village”.
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang congratulated the Secretary General Namulauulu Tautala and the Samoa Red Cross for hosting a successful regional forum, and welcomed the opportunity to partner with Samoa Red Cross in supporting our people in need.
“Last but not the least, SVSG applauds with pride having one of the daughters of Samoa, Ms. Lemau Afamasaga leading the delegation from the Red Cross International. It is such an inspiration for the support work that we do for our own people in Samoa.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
A 12-member Habitat for Humanity Group from New Zealand and the United States of America are in the country to assist the people of Samoa most vunlrable to natural disasters, through housing projects.
However, the humanitarians have included a visit to the children at the Campus of Hope in their schedule.
This has been a normal practice by the Habitat for Humanity Groups who have previously attended similar projects in Samoa.
According to leader Mr. Peter Robertson, “we have initiated a visit to the Campus of Hope to present the children with small gifts to show them that we care.”
Following the presentation of stationeries and $445.00 donated for the children, the visitors entertained the children through the ‘Siva Samoa’. This is humanity at work, and this is Habitat’s hopeful visit.
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang thanked Valelia Ausage, the contact person for the Habitat for Humanity for coordinating such an entertaining visit. “Thank you to each and everyone of you for your contribution in bringing joy to the Campus of Hope.” Siliniu Lina Chang
Samoa Victim Support Group’s holistic approach to the rehabilitation programs for the children survivors of violence and sexual abuse, cared for at the Campus of Hope shelter facilities, saw a welcoming partnership with the National Rugby League through the Digicel Pacific Outreach program.
Through sports development, music, dancing, poetry, education and livelihood training, the children are exposed to the different rehabilitation programs to regained lost confidence and improved self esteem.
The outreach program held a clinic for the children at the Campus of Hope much to the delight of the children, especially the boys. The clinic forms part of the rehabilitation programs for the children of hope as it taught the children the basics on passing and catching the ball as well as healthy eating.
Even though the clinic was the first time for the National Rugby League at the Campus, it was not so for Digicel Samoa. Through the Ray of Hope Foundation, the Ray of Hope shelter on Campus was built with funding support from Digicel Samoa.
“Digicel has been SVSG’s partner for a long time, and the belief that Digicel has in SVSG is making a big impact on us. Hopefully the N.R.L-Digicel will continue the momentum of the parternship.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President.
Sporting goods such as rugby balls, drinking bottles, books and bags were presented by N.R.L Team Leader Maika Felise Tupai on behalf of the N.R.L – Digicel partnership, and were received with gratitude by President Siliniu for the children.
With the Australian Survivor 2017 series filmed in Samoa coming to an end, representatives from the filming crew visited the Campus of Hope with used miscellaneous items ranging from office chairs, rolled mats, cutleries and others, to be used by the children.
The SVSG Board acknowledges the donated items from the Australian Survivor 2017 crew on behalf of the children of hope.
We live each day to testify on the wonders of journeying together with the God of Miracles. As the theme for this year’s journey for the Samoa Victim Support Group and its family of supporters, we have shared as well as received God’s love through the partnerships that we have established. And we have experienced this and more as we journey towards the second half of the year.
SVSG’s longstanding partnership with the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints is one of such blessing which todate, continues in strength. During the weekend, the Tafa Upolu Stake from Fasitoo-tai, Vailuutai, Faleaseela, Satapuala, Safaatoa and Falelatai were at the Campus cleaning the compound and donating supplies for the children’s daily caring. It was the Stake’s turn to assist with the cleaning and providing supplies as part of the ongoing support from the LDS Church.
From the elderly to the youth, everyone contributed to the clean up activity. Some were mowing the lawn, others were sweeping and weeding. It was like one big family doing chores together as a family. It was the sharing of the love of God.
The donation of supplies included bags of rice, boxes of noodles, cartons of chicken, cartons of herring, taro and banana. It should assist SVSG with feeding more than 75 children currently cared for at the Campus of Hope.
The SVSG Board continues to be grateful to theleaders of the LDS Church in Samoa for their commitment to this partnership.
President of SVSG Samoa