Close to 30 adolescents in Siumu became the second group of young people to be empowered through life skills training as part of the 2-year program by the Samoa Victiim Support Group, to address violence against children.
These are the children selected from the community based on the identified need for support; to improve their knowledge, attitude and practice in order to better deal with adolescent development. At the same time, the life skills training empowers the adolescents to better protect themselves.
The sharing by the adolescents at the Siumu session shed some light onto the relationship between life skills for adolescent and positive discipline for the parents.
According to one of the 12 year old female who participated in the training, she used to think that a smack, a hit or a punch is a normal part of discipline, given that her parents normally used objects such as a broom, a belt, or a stick to discipline her. This revelation was shared while the parents of the adolescent were attending the training on positive discipline.
A male adolescent age 14 brought up the topic of corporal punishment in schools; as he recalled the teachers are now being prohibited from hitting any student as a form of discipline. He however shared that the verbal and emotional abuse have replaced the corporal punishment, with the impact on the students being much worst than the former.
The views as shared by the adolescents participating at the life skills training at Siumu, highlighted the need for the positive discipline trainings for parents and caregivers to be extended to include teachers and other adults dealing with children.
There are 7 communities targeted by the community prevention program for child protection; 6 in Upolu and 1 in Savaii.
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledges the partnership with UNICEF Pacific to address child protection through working with the targeted communities.