Samoa Victim Support Group is saddened to learn of the peaceful passing of one of the greater men known to the Group as a silent supporter with a heart of gold, Mr. Ken Newton, who was the pillar behind the all too familiar company name, the CCK Trading Limited.
Mr. Newton reached out in support of SVSG and its work since 2006, when the first children victims of violence came under SVSG’s shelter care. According to the President of SVSG, Siliniu Lina Chang, “Mr. Newton did not enter into a normal type of partnership arrangement with SVSG; but come to think of it, it must have been his way of shying away from letting it be known to the world that he was donating to the needy for charity.”
The partnership started off with a regular donation of bags of clothes for the children requiring shelter care with SVSG. As the number of sheltered children victims of violence increased, CCK coffee was added to the clothes donation.
It was around 2010 when SVSG took to the community with its first awareness raising campaign “Saying NO to Rape’ that Mr. Newton once again took the Group by surprise with his donation, this time, a cheque put together from all the monetary gifts he received for his birthday. He invited SVSG President Siliniu to his office where he presented this gift with a smile, acknowledging the work of SVSG face to face, for the first time.
What Mr. Newton did not know at the time was that, his birthday donation sparked a movement taken up by many others to date, in support of the children victims under SVSG’s shelter care.
In 2011, SVSG hosted a Golden Hearts Award Night to acknowledge the generosity of the donors, those who believed in the work of a newly established NGO in Samoa. The CCK Trading Limited was amongst the recipients of not just a Golden Heart, but a Double Golden Heart Award.
To date, the partnership with the CCK Trading Limited continues. Mr. Newton’s donation had enabled SVSG to provide for the clothing needs of all the children survivors of abuse that have gone through its shelter care, since 2006. Even in his old age, Mr. Newton’s birthday cake becomes that of the children of hope.
In the years that follow, Mr. Newton’s heart to support SVSG was taken up by a strong, committed and vocal young woman, who joined SVSG as a Volunteer, an SVSG Educational Foundation Member, and later, became the Chair of the SVSG Board, Mrs Georgina Newton-Lui.
“From the Board, Managaement and Staff of the Samoa Victim Support Group, we hereby pay tribute to a man of a few words, with a heart of gold. Rest in love Mr. Ken Newton. Our deepest condolences to Madame Chair of the SVSG Board, loving wife Leonie, and the bereaved family.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
Taking ownership of ending violence against women and girls in Samoa as a collective, is an indication of a responsible community. The coming on board of the Samoa Statioinery & Books to coordinate monthly donations to the Samoa Victim Support Group and the Campus of Hope over the years, is a Company that walks the talk to support the ending violence against women, girls and children.
Today, representatives from the SSAB presented in kind and monetary donations to SVSG as the Company’s monthly contribution towards ending violence in Samoa.
There were boxes of clothes and linen collected from the Company’s Donation Boxes placed in front of the SSAB Megastore. In addition, there was a cheque of $1,000 which according to the SSAB representative, comprised of $500 from the sales of Orange Seis in support of SVSG, plus a $500 top up by the Company itself.
The donations by SSAB have been collected from members of the community. Those with the hearts to support the ending violence against women and girls in Samoa. Those who believe in this great cause.
As a support service organization and an advocate for ending violence in Samoa, these community efforts should be acknowledged. They should not be discounted as minimal compared to the continued rise in the incidences of violence we see around us today. Because every life impacted by the goodness of humanity is valuable and worth celebrating.
It is in this connetion that the Chair of the SVSG Board, Madame Georgina Lui, congratulates Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai, management and staff of the SSAB for performing this act of kindness above and beyond every month they walk through our doors.
“Through your faith Tofilau Fiti, you have positively influenced the community to join the fight to end violence against women and children in Samoa.” Georgina Lui.
There is a direct relationship between women’s access to income and an increase in violence and control.
However, earning can also reduce economic stress for women, increasing their bargaining power in the household and give them the means to prevent or espcae abusive relationship.
“Thank you to the European Union through the Civil Society Support Program for funding SVSG’s efforts to support the sustainable income generation of the self-employed nofotane women. Together, we are raising strong women of courage and persevance, ending violence through their economic empowerment.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
A community-based study to develop home-based prevention approaches to violence against women and girls in Samoa, have seen the working together of traditional leaders and women as partners in research.
Faiumu Numia a 75 year old high chief in Taga Savaii, and an elderly SVSG village representative, welcomes the opportunity for traditional leaders and women to be researchers rather than just being included as research participants.
“This is a new era for the fight to end violence against women and girls in Samoa; because to me, this is the first time that we, the village leaders, have worked together with the women in our village, to discuss and design relevant solution that suits our own village of Taga. And it is perfect because who else knows our village better than us. We are homegrown researchers to end violence against women.”
Taga is situated on the south east coast of Savaii, and with a population of close to 800 villagers, is one of ten villages selected for the research study to develop home-based prevention approaches to violence against women.
This week saw the traditional leaders and women of Taga working together to identify problems facing their community, specifically, problems faced by women in Taga. From there on, the community researchers went on to identify solutions to the problems as part of a theory of change approach.
It was interesting to observe how the problems identified by the traditional leaders of Taga puts the blame on themselves as the causes of the difficulties faced by the women, and vice versa for the women.
There were also some different opinions expressed amongst the traditional leaders and the women, as to the causes of the problem, what the main problem is, and the consequences. These different opinions were discussed further until the researchers reached an agreement, resulting in clear interventions linking to solutions to the problems faced by the women of Taga.
The reseach study is called “E le Sauā le Alofa” and has being implemented by the Samoa Victim Support Group since March 2000 . The study is for four years, and has funding from the UK’s Research and Innovation Agency. Dr. Jenevieve Mannell, who is the lead researcher for the study is based in the University College of London in the United Kingdom. The COVID-19 pandemic lead to adjustments in the study, giving more control over the research design to local partner organizations, Samoa Victim Support Group.
SVSG President, Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledge with appreciation the learning opportunity presented by the research study not only for the Organization, but most importantly, for our village communities, specifically women.
This year marks a 10-year partnership with the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa through the Malua Theological College, that has proven vital in the fight to end violence in Samoa.
The Pastoral Care program forms part of the third year students and their wives’ studies at the Malua Theological College. It is a practical program that assist in preparing the theological students and their wives, for their work in the church communities, once they are graduated.
Each year saw a group of third year students spending a Sunday with the children survivors of violence and sexual abuse at the Campus of Hope, for a period of 4 – 5 weeks. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the State of Emergency in 2020, the Pastoral Care program for the Campus was put on hold.
This year saw the Program being resumed as usual on Sunday, and will continue until early October.
The Campus was packed as two bus loads transported the third year students and their wives. The children residents were excited as they were divided into three groups allocated to work with the students during the whole afternoon. There was painting and singing, story telling and reading from the Bible. The engagement was encouraging for the children of hope; while it was a reality check for the theological students, that violence is real, and it is a growing concern. One only needs to look at the children in the face to see how violence had impacted their young lives.
It is in this connection that SVSG is grateful of the continuous partnership with the Church, as it helps with the rehabilitation program for the children survivors of violence, as much as it is helping the theological students and their wives prepare to become church leaders in the community.
“Thank you Reverend Filemoni Crawley for organizing the program. Thank you also to the students and their wives for sharing the love with the children, not only through the program, but also the in kind donation put together for them.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President