As young volunteers for Samoa Victim Support Group under the SVSG (Juniors) sub-group, we have watched, observed and marveled at the magnitude of the work being carried out by SVSG for our community in need, let alone, the operation of the only shelter facility in Samoa for abused and vulnerable children, the Campus of Hope.
We asked ourselves, “How can we as the youth, better support the mother organization as part of SVSG’s succession plan?”
The answer lies not in us taking up casework assistance, child protection, court support or shelter operations as per SVSG’s mandate, but rather, in how we can give back to the community that has supported and entrusted SVSG to be a service provider.
The idea was reaffirmed after seeing the children at the Campus, struggled with their daily routine on one particular day when they were without water. It brought home the reality of the same struggle faced by many of our families who do not have access to clean water.
SVSG’s Welfare Database attested to many of our families in need of welfare assistance. And therein lies the focus of SVSG (Juniors) fundraising drives over the last 3 months, through the Zumba and the Hope Concert – to give back to the community through a drive for clean water. Our target was to supply 10 x 10,000 litre water tanks to 10 families under the SVSG database, in need of clean water.
Today, we acknowledge with gratitude the support from our donors, both here and abroad, who have made this Clean Water project a reality. A special thank you to Fred Yazadani, General Manager of the Rotomould Water Tank at Fugalei for partnering with us for this project.
From the Zumba fundraising, we were able to secure 1 x 10,000 litre water tank. The Hope Concert late November and the donations from our supporting partners enabled us to reach our target of 10 x 10,000 litre water tanks. Chan Mow and family donated for 1 tank; May Schwenke of Melbourne Australia donated another while Maurice and Elanit Mitry of Sydney Australia donated 3 tanks. Fittings and cement for the tanks have all been provided through this project.
Three families at Malaemalu Falealili and one from Faleula have had their water tanks installed, with delivery to others still progressing. The SVSG (Junior) youth groups from these villages have helped with the cement work for the tanks.
“Thank you so much to the mother organization, the Samoa Victim Support Group for guiding us in serving our community in need. As Christmas is upon us, let us keep the spirit of giving alive through services to others. It is the least we could do for unto us, a child is born, the greatest gift of all.” SVSG Junior
Wishing our families, friends and supporters a Merry Christmas and a most Prosperous New Year in God’s grace.
As human rights defenders the world over are on the frontlines of defending the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through their work, Samoa Victim Support Group celebrated the 70th anniversary of this extraordinary document with child vendors, making ends meet on the streets of Apia.
In partnership with the National Human Rights Institute of Samoa (NHRI), SVSG celebrated with child vendors in an activity titled: ‘Buddying up in the Child Vendor’s World of Work’, focusing on human rights and dignity.
The activity aimed at working on the child vendors self-esteem, that they can rise up from the challenges of the streets, to a much better environment such as the classroom, and for SVSG’s case, the Hot Soup Skill Building Training. Each child vendor buddyed up with a youth member of the SVSG (Junior) for the whole day at the youth’s workplaces.
The rain did not dampen the spirit of the child vendors on this 10th day of December, as they dressed up in their best clothes, ready to experience life in the formal employment sector, away from their work places on the streets. At the SVSG Office, the children put on their yellow t-shirts with ‘Human Rights’ boldly printed in the front as the team from the NHRI joined SVSG in greeting them. The eagerness on their faces, the excitement in their voices and the many questions they asked say it all. These are children, derived of their right to enjoy being children and to be educated as they worked on the street as vendors.
The first stop for the buddies was at the Ombudsman’s Office, where Tracey Mikaele and the team explained to the children in simple terms, what human right is. They toured the office and met the staff of the NHRI.
President of SVSG Samoa