More than twenty children survivors of violence under the care of Samoa Victim Support Group, have joined the fight to end violence against children, by taking the message of Hope throughout the communities in Savaii this week.
The road trip is a child rights movement, initiated by the children survivors of violence cared for at the Campus of Hope shelter facility. It is the children’s way to remedy the wrong committed against them by preaching the message of Hope through songs, skits and dialogues with village communities. The road trip had started in Savaii and will continue to cover the whole of Upolu and Manono-tai in this national movement.
The villagers of Taga, located in the district of Palauli and renowed for the Taga Blowholes in Savaii, were the first to welcome the movement. It saw the coming together of the Taga community, from village to church leaders, parents, youths and children alike, to embrace the message of hope, and to pledge ownership of their collective responsibility for the safety of our children.
Through singing, dancing and sharing significant change stories, the resilience of the children brought healing to the village of Taga themselves.
The stress from the day’s work, the uncertainty with the global pandemic and what not, were all set aside as the elderly joined in the singing, while the mothers put on their dancing shoes. It was a beautiful family night of thanksgiving, at seeing the children survivors who were once victims of violence, stood tall and proclaimed the message of Hope to our people.
We also saw how the children’s awareness program against violence had started to break the rhythm of social norms surrounding violence in all its aspect; that it is not a private matter, but a collective responsibility of a community. Village and church leaders of Taga came forward to register as SVSG Village Representatives; youth groups joined the SVSG Junior Youth Alliance as agents of change, while the empowered nofotane women of Taga joined in the awareness and shared their stories of hope to inspire other unemployed women. The children survivors and residences of the Campus of Hope are therefore helping to build a stronger community to stand up against violence, as it continues to escalate in Samoa.
“It is in this connection that SVSG acknowledges the partnership with UNICEF Pacific which enabled us to mobilize so many children for this movement. Thank you also to the leaders of Taga, for accepting the message of hope as shared by the children. You have all reaffirmed in us the belief that you can take a child out of the village, but you can never take the village out of the child. Our children are our blessings, and they deserve to be treated as such.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President