The story of a 5 year old child who is suffering from rheumatic heart disease was published in the Samoa Observer edition of 1 November 2016. The child is one of the many victims of this deadly disease.
Due to the urgency of the child’s condition, a visiting cardiologist from New Zealand early October advised for the early evacuation to overseas for the relevant treatment. Under the government’s overseas medical treatment assistance, the child can be evacuated in no time. The parents however were faced with the difficulty of sourcing out funds to pay for their travel expenses especially given that they rely solely on the produce from their plantation for a living. Time was not on their side and as such, they sought SVSG’s support, to advocate for financial assistance for their son’s travel.
With a child’s life at risk, SVSG worked the whole weekend to secure a donor, then to arrange for the earliest flight to New Zealand and to liaise with the National Health for all the medical support required for his travel. It has been a challenging time for the parents, as well as SVSG, as it took up the role of being the voice for the child through the donors.
The Little Angels Foundation of New Zealand was approached, as the supporting partner of SVSG in its work for vulnerable and underprivileged children in Samoa. And God was on our side.
The Foundation saw the need for action and paid ST3,150.00 for the return airfare of both the child and the accompanied parent. In addition, monetary donation of NZ500.00 was presented to the parents to assist with the child’s care while in New Zealand. SVSG prepared a suitcase of warm clothes and other necessities required by the child. It has been a challenging but a blessed journey for this child, thanks to the support of the Little Angels Foundation.
The father was humbled and grateful of the prompt response from SVSG and the Foundation, who were at the airport to wish our little angel well on his journey. An update from New Zealand noted our angel being discharged from the hospital with medication until his scheduled surgery.
On behalf of SVSG, President Siliniu Lina Chang thanked the Director of the Little Angels Foundation for the heart to support the vulnerable children of Samoa. “You have time and time again give relentlessly to support the children in need, and as we approached the festive season, we believe your spirit of giving will save the life of this little angel.”
The children survivors of violence and sexual abuse cared for at the Campus of Hope were treated in style at the premiere of the Disney movie ‘Moana’ at the Apollo Cinemas last night. The rain did not dampen the spirit of the children as they rode to town in the 3 buses organized by Digicel.
Speaking on behalf of the Digicel Board and the Ray of Hope Foundation, Fiaailetoa Pepe Christian Fruean acknowledged the work of SVSG in looking after these very special children. And the treat is a norm for Digicel at this time of year, a way of giving these children something to smile about, even if only for a day.
Digicel staff coordinated the transportation of the children from the Campus for a ride around town, before and after the movies. Pizza and drinks were in abundance for their evening snack before the movies, then there was popcorns and soft drinks for all. Even the children with disabilities enjoyed time out from the shelter to be treated as normal children.
Hearing them laughed and cheered at their newly found hero Moana was just amazing, as the children took up 1/3 of the theatre. The mood continued on the buses when returning to the Campus as they imitated and sang the theme for the movie.
Treating the children for Christmas is an annual event for the bigger and better network. This is what genuine and durable partnerships is all about.
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledges the heart of the people in leadership role in Digicel and the Ray of Hope Foundation, for always looking out for SVSG. “We draw strength from knowing that there are people out there, other than ourselves who genuinely care.”
A gift from the angels might sound like a fairy tale story, but not so for Angel Willie, the latest recipient of the generosity from the Little Angels Foundation of New Zealand, working together with Samoa Victim Support Group, in being family to the vulnerable, the abused and the underprivileged children.
Angel Willie is the young boy who saved his mother’s life from a vicious attack in 2015, which has left ugly bruises on her mother’s face and a traumatized child, the ugly reality of family violence.
It is a story that speaks of the constant fear this child is living with, the mental effect on his studies, and a mother that can no longer work to support her children due to her disabilities from the attack, but with an unwavering faith that violence cannot claim victory over.
And her faith is a reminder that there is far more good than evil in this world because we are serving a loving God. And His love is through a gift from the Little Angels Foundation that covered the travel costs for Willie, from passport, to VISA to airfare, enabling him and his mother to enjoy a holiday in New Zealand during this festive season.
During a morning tea at SVSG office, the Director of the Little Angels Foundation presented the travel tickets to Angel Willie and his mother. “The Little Angels are happy to present these air travel tickets to you Willie and your mother for we know that you have been through a lot because of your mother’s situation; This is a gift for you both for this Christmas”.
The mother was speechless and thankful to the Foundation for the gift. O le viiga e foi ile Atua aua lona agalelei ma lona lima taitai’ina i ai tatou i so’o se mea tatou te feagai ai”. Says she, “Glory and honor to God for his mercy on us in any situation that we face.”
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang spoke of how grateful she was of the partnership with the Little Angels Foundation. “Thank you to the Director of the Little Angels Foundation for the vision that no matter the circumstance, our children are angels to the foundation.”
This is in line with SVSG’s motto that we support, we help, we care, We are your Family.
Our 9 year old spend 8 months in our Campus. During that time, everything happened so fast in her life that sometimes she wandered carelessly and creating troubles for others.
Cannot blame the little one, for what had happened to her, inside her own home is chaos. She is too young not to enjoy her childhood .
Her court case is over, her brother is in jail, and her family had been knocking on our doors to take her home.
We can only do so much, a special counselling program was designed for her, and we enjoyed having her with us.
Bidding farewell and wishing her joy for her future.
Thank you to our loyal supporters and prayer warriors, this is what it's all about.
Josie, our shelter coordinator is happily discussing time out for our children. Ms. Chloe from Digicel met earlier with our President, on a sponsored outing for the children to see the premiere of MOANA. Wow, thank you Chloe , for a nice surprise!!!
Thank you Pepe and team at Digicel for being there for us and this Christmas treat is something that our children always look forward to. Not forgetting the bus ride and yummy pizzas.
The grieving family at Laulii who lost their youngest son during a family that destroyed their property late October, sought SVSG’s help for welfare support.
While the father is stilling coming to terms with the loss of his 1 year old son, he is also struggling to meet the basic needs of his surviving 5 children. The fire destroyed everything that they had.
SVSG was able to put together the basic necessities to get this family through. In kind donations we have been receiving to assist us with our support work enabled us to donate 1 sack of rice, 1 carton of tinned fish, 5 boxes of noodles, 6 big bags full of cloths and sleeping materials.
The father that requested SVSG’s assistance and his father-in-law aged 72 were speechless and were overwhelmed with the support from SVSG. At such a difficult time, SVSG has been a family to this family in need.
“Ia alofa le Atua fa’atutumu mea ua faagaogaoina, ma ia foai atu pea e le Atua le ola ma le malosi ile tou aufaigaluega ma le fa’alapotopotoga aua le feagaiai ma galuega lelei o lo’o faia mo e sauaiga ma puapuagatia” Mr. Mapusua Ierome of Laulii. “May God bless you and the support work of SVSG for those in need.”
SVSG is grateful to all its supporters for without your donation, whether financial or in kind, we would not be able to help our people in need.
“Fa’afetai lava to all our donors for your support. We would not be able to do this work without your belief and trust in our ability to deliver.” SVSG President, Siliniu Lina Chang
Great thanks to SVSG Christchurch for once again funding our three girls trip to NZ.
I am fortunate to be given the task of accompanying our girls, sharing small talks, giggling along the way, exploring new stuff, using escalators and the comfort of being together.
Seeing the smiles on our girls faces and enjoying time with them is a blessing. It is time to enjoy, be independent and learn more about the other side of the world that they never knew existed.
Thank you Jeremy and Shelley for believing in our work and God Bless.
Georgina Lui our Chair for the SVSG Board gave a presentation today to the 2016 Leadership Samoa participants, as one of the guest speakers for the Program's "Social and Youth Development Study Tour.
Georgina was asked to present on "The real life problems facing our youth today."
THE REAL LIFE PROBLEMS FACING OUR YOUTH TODAY By Georgina Lui
Members of Samoa Leadership Group, participants for this year’s emerging leaders programme and to all guests for this day’s talk. It is with pleasure that I greet you on behalf of SVSG, the President and it’s Board. Most of these talks on behalf of our group were previously given by our President Siliniu Lina Chang but due to the fact that she is unavailable due to other commitments, I as Chair of our Board was asked to present on this topic. The topic as you know from the programme is the real problems facing our youth today, a very wide topic as you would most likely appreciate and cannot be covered within the thirty minutes allocated. In the spirit of how SVSG works, I would like to turn around the topic into this: The amazing youth of today and what we can do to help them fully appreciate their potential and their ability to contribute to our future.
Talking about problems can just amount to a full blown discussion on problems, analysing them, stretching them out and spending months and years on discussing and developing papers on problems. This will result in a lot of time, a lot of energy and probably a better appreciation of the problems. But then, what next? After talking about the problems, is someone going to step up and try and do something about the problems or are we just going to sit there and better appreciate the problems and have something to talk about in our cocktails and our constant dinners. So therefore in the spirit of how we work in SVSG, I have decided to talk about the amazing youth of today and how we can help appreciate their strength, their potential and their ability to steer our future.
First of all, the establishment of a shelter for the young in Samoa and the fact that this shelter is constantly full of the young in Samoa requiring shelter and a safe haven. These are our young, abused within their homes and requiring a place of safety, of which they were supposed to be given in their homes. The fact that such a shelter exists within this country is always a shock to many because of the perceptions of so many of Samoa that everyone has family, and there is always someone in the family to look after that young person who is abused within their family. What if the young girl is someone raped by her father a head figure within the family. What if the mother is herself a victim of a horrible cycle of not knowing who to turn to because the loss of a husband will mean no income to support her and her other children. The mother cannot bring herself to believe the young girl because believing the young girl means destroying herself. What if she is also stuck in a cycle of abuse, emotionally incapable to getting help. This is a common story that SVSG comes across and the amazing person in this story is the young girl, who against her family and with no support told herself that if she does not help herself, who is going to do it? So the amazing girl chose to stand up for herself and put a stop to the cycle of abuse on herself. She chose courage to protect herself because no one else will, and tell people what has been happening to her so that someone who is in a position to help can finally help her. She comes to SVSG for help. She tells her story. She has to tell her story again to police. And the the ultimate humiliation, to tell her story again in court, facing her father on the other side, with her mother and her family sitting on the side of her father, supporting her father against her. Putting up with the questions to her, putting up with accusations that she is lying and making up these stories about her father, in a cold room full of strangers. This is the story of our amazing youth and their courage. The question is, what can we as emerging leaders do to help such a girl. The shelter is full of these amazing youth and their courage to choose to take back their lives and live a good life.
Second, is the establishment of a young offenders court in Samoa shows recognition is given to the fact that the youth are a particular vulnerable group within our society, that require special treatment when they are brought through the criminal legal system. SVSG has become involved in this through its youth programmes of which young offenders are referred to for rehabilitation. The focus of the youth program is rehabilitation: To rehabilitate them so that their young lives are not wasted; So that they do not find themselves back into the criminal legal system. This can be very difficult because sometimes rehabilitation is only introduced in this youth’s life after years of criminal activity. In many of these cases, the youth became involved in criminal activity because of pressure from family for money. Many of these youths are not in school, do not have jobs, and do not appear to be searching for a job. Some of you might be thinking of the school fights that have been occurring of late and receiving a lot of media attention, and therefore it is not only with youths that are not in school. This is a correct observation but bear in mind that just because the media has decided to focus on this problem of fights breaking out among students of different schools, does not mean that it makes up the bulk of the matters in the youth court. More like three out of 30 cases in the youth court, with most of them not about school fights. The amazing aspect of these youths who go through the criminal system is their ability to survive. It takes a lot to survive and with some of them, to use that experience to not only survive but succeed in life. This is their amazing potential and it is a challenge to us to help them realise this potential in each one of them. One of the things that we are thankful for and note, are the sports association taking up on this challenge. To give something else to the youth so that they develop self esteem and hopefully a future. These activities are:
Hopefully, it can take some of the children selling on the street off the streets.
This brings us to the third and last matter I wanted to talk about. The children selling on our streets. Many of you would have gone through McDonalds and meet up with these children pushing their products to you. For so many of us, it is very hard to say no to a child on the street. How can we say no? Are we turning away a child from God who just wants some money so that they can have a meal tonight? Or then there is the question because you see the parents or the adults lurking from behind, will this money go to the child or to the lazy and shameless adults who are making these children stand around on the street for them? What do I do?
SVSG had clinics and schools full of volunteers in town for these children on the streets. They were full of life and they loved sports days. It was an opportunity for them to be just kids enjoying themselves. The volunteers enjoyed their sense of humour in school and their zest for life. Because of their experience on the streets, it made them street smart and definitely not shy. However, when the school moved into the campus of hope at Tuanaimato, we no longer were able to provide this service for these children. We had some children who were referred to the shelter by the police because the parents had beaten up the children as they had not brought enough money home that day from their sales on the streets. Some children were delivered to the shelter because people found them sleeping at the market or in the public toilets and there was no adult around. The matrons found these children hard to look after because of the lives they have already led on the streets. But these children continue to survive somehow without the usual support and protection a child gets from their families or their parents. It is amazing how these kids manage to survive on a day to day basis. The strength within them can only make them formidable as adults if they fully realise their potential. They have gone through the worst of life. What more can life throw at them to make them scared. They are fearless in how they tackle life and survive.
I hope that I did not come across too passionate or too much like a preacher in this presentation. You will find that if not for our passion, SVSG would not have survived in Samoa this long. But I hope that if anything, this presentation would have moved someone in this room to stand up and make it count, and make a difference. Because that is what we believe is what true leadership is about.
God be with you in all your plans as emerging leaders and we look forward to hearing your names in the coconut grapevine as someone who has made a difference.
I am a Georgina Lui and I hope that in my small time today with you, I have made a difference.
The SVSG Family in Samoa gathered for a thanksgiving ceremony today to acknowledge God’s continued blessings on the Group. SVSG was one of 20 organisations from around the world recognised for their work with girls as per the With and For Girls Award. It was the first time that an organisation from the Pacific has won such an award.
The With and For Girls Awards is a global initiative to identify and support strong local organisations working with and for girls. SVSG’s achievement was an achievement for Samoa as a whole.
This was reiterated by the Patron when he acknowledged the Award for the important recognition of the work that we are doing, and more importantly, the recognition of what everyone is putting into the work of SVSG.
Director of Women in Business Development Incorporated (WIBDI), Mrs Adimaimalaga Tafunai, who nominated SVSG for this award, spoke of sharing God’s blessings. Says she, “God blesses us when we bless others. As NGOs, we should work together by looking out to support each other.
Present also during the thanksgiving ceremony was the Chairperson of the Board, Mrs. Georgina Lui. “I am so proud to be a part of this Organisation, dedicated to the protection of the vulnerable children, and seeing the smile on their faces is reward for our work.”
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang was in London to receive the Award on behalf of SVSG during the weekend, with Board Member Mulipola Anarosa Ale Molioo. She spoke of SVSG’s humble beginnings to this global recognition, and the credit goes to the SVSG Family of supporters who believe in this work.
The children survivors of abuse under the care of Samoa Victim Support Group at the Campus of Hope, were amongst the humble recipients of in kind and monetary donations from the Holy Family Parish of the Catholic Church, comprised of Saleufi, Togafuafua and Taufusi.
Lead by Father Losi Numia and accompanied by Deacon Su’a & Sesilia Brown, Deacon Iakopo & Fagamalama Isaako and Deacon Isitolo & Kamila Lemisio, the visit forms part of the Holy Family Parish ‘Malaga Sa’ on Saturday, 5 October 2016, as the Catholic Church around the world continued to celebrate the merciful love of God.
Speaking to the children, Father Losi reminded the children that they are God’s angels. “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:3
It was an emotional visit, that ended with dancing and singing as the Parish and the children of hope celebrated together the love of our merciful God.
Earlier on the same day, the President of the Faleula and Malie Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, Lincoln Pulotu together with Bishop Samasoni Peni, Bishop Pio Veatele and Bishop Laki Passi presented in kind donation as well as assisted with lawn mowing and cleaning up the compound. This is part of the Stakes ongoing support for the Campus of Hope.
As the churches continued to support the work of SVSG with the children, we remain firm in our faith that we are serving a merciful God.
The President and the Board of SVSG express their gratitude to the Holy Family Parish of the Catholic Church of Apia, and the Faleula/Malie Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints,for the kind donations and wonderful hearts in visiting the children at the Campus of Hope.
A local Samoan charity Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG) is one of just 20 organisations from around the world to receive a With and For Girls Award this year.
As part of the award package, SVSG will receive US$50,000 of flexible funding and capacity building support.
The With and For Girls Awards is a global initiative to identify and support strong local organisations working with and for girls.
The charity – based in Apia, Samoa – is recognised for its work with survivors of violence and sexual abuse in Samoa, providing shelters and support for women and girls, in addition to educating community members on violence prevention.
Around 46 per cent of Samoan women who have been in a relationship say they have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse by their partner, according to figures published by the United Nations.
In a culture where family reputation is highly valued, women are reluctant to report crimes. As a result, victims of domestic violence find little support within their families, leaving them isolated and trapped in an abusive environment.
SVSG was set up by a young lawyer frustrated at the lack of support for victims of gender-based violence. She brought together former police officers and legal professionals to provide support and counselling for survivors.
SVSG helps refer cases to the police and offers counselling to survivors in a private setting. Members of SVSG will also accompany survivors to court to ensure they have company during this scary and often intimidating process.
The organisation also offers secured temporary accommodation while it works on rehabilitation, recovery and reintegration. An alternative school system helps children who cannot read to transition into formal schooling.
SVSG has reached over 25,000 people and is the only organisation of its kind in Samoa.
Muna Wehbe, CEO of Stars Foundation –
“These 20 outstanding organisations demonstrate the power of grassroots movements and girl leadership to effect change, both in communities and in the world at large. The Collective is proud to be supporting the With and For Girls Award winners with flexible funding, which is still a rare asset for most grassroots organisations. We want to encourage more funders to trust and invest in girls to address the challenges that they face in their everyday lives. By doing so they are changing the future for the millions of girls worldwide who face discrimination simply for identifying as a girl."ENDS
For three years in a roll, the SVSG Sydney Dinner of Hope has been a huge success, bringing together the Samoan and the Australian supporting community at the Liverpool Catholic Club during a sold out event over the weekend.
The annual fundraiser is SVSG Sydney’s contribution towards SVSG’s work for the children survivor of abuse cared for shelter facilities at the Campus of Hope. It is the sub-group’s annual donation to the work of SVSG in Samoa.
SVSG Sydney Director Mrs. Cecilia Theodor and Team, as well as the committed volunteers worked really hard to ensure that once again, they will host a family night to remember, and they did. There was food, drinks, dancing, laughter and fellowship and an auction activity towards the end of the night donated by SVSG Sydney supporters, including an art piece from local artists Alan Lakisoe Art and Paul Suluape.
ST20,000 was raised at the Dinner of Hope and the cheque was presented to SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang, who was in Sydney to receive this kind donation together with Board Member Mulipola Anarosa Molio’o.
In attendance also to support the event was the SVSG Queensland Director Mrs. Eseta Frost and the SVSG Melbourne Director Mr. Toilolo Talosaga Taulapapa, highlighting the SVSG Global Aiga uniting around the common cause; that is of standing against injustice.
High Commissioner of Samoa to Australia, Her Excellency Hinauri Petana also attend in support of the cause, and gave the keynote address for the evening.
Thank you to the community in Sydney for continuing to support this annual fundraising event.
The children cared for at the Campus of Hope, the temporary home for children survivors of violence and sexual abuse operated by Samoa Victim Support Group, were the latest beneficiaries of the Love Squared, the missions arm of the The Katinas, also known as K5.
A donation from The Katinas Love Squared specifically to finance additional transportation for the children, enabled SVSG to purchase a 15-seater van with negotiations for a second vehicle near completion.
True to the Love Squared mission as an outreach to the next generation, brothers James, Jesses, Joe, John and Sam have been supporting SVSG’s work for the abuse children in its shelter facilities.
The children of hope have looked up to the Katinas as their uncles and this is how the brothers have presented themselves to the children. The coming on board of the Katinas Love Squared Mission to support the Campus of Hope through prayer and financial assistance, is a call to the whole of Samoa to work together for the special children cared for in these shelter facilities.
The Katinas Love Squared Mission donated vehicles add to the current 15-seater van also donated by an anonymous donor from Australia in 2014, to assist with the transportation of the children to attend church services on Sundays, and other rehabilitation activities around the community.
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledges with gratitude the financial assistance from The Katinas Love Squared mission. “Thank you to the Katinas for being inspirations to the children of hope.”