“There are critics and there are supporters, rest assured that God sees everything and all things that you do in your work to support our people in need. Piula has been a long-time supporter of your work, through prayers, this time, we want to be more involved.”
These words encouraged the SVSG President and staff during the opening remarks by Reverend Dr. Mosese Ma’ilo, Principal of the Piula Theological College, when the children cared for at the Campus of Hope visited Piula during the week.
The visit marked the beginning of a partnership between Samoa Victim Support Group and the Piula Theological College.
It is a partnership that has extended the support network SVSG continues to foster with the church community, as different denominations come forward to partner and to lend a hand.
The children spend time at the pool, the reverends provided the security around the area while their wives catered for lunch. The pool was closed off to the public while the children were in the area. It was one big family taking time out from their normal activities to enjoy the goodness of the Lord in our lives, despite the evil and his ways. Monetary donation of $1,000, food and clothes supplies were presented to the children from the College.
In addition to the day out, the partnership will see the reverends and their wives becoming active volunteers at Campus, helping out at the school, with the livelihood trainings and caring for the babies.
SVSG President was grateful of the support from the Piula Theological College, in particular, the belief from those in leadership roles in the College, Reverend. Dr. Mosese Ma’ilo and the Team. “Thank you for your sincerity as shown by the durable partnership now established with the College.”
Close to 50 reformed women referred from the Courts for counseling sessions under SVSG’s Advocacy Programs in 2016, will be graduating in a ceremony to be held at the Travellers Point on Thursday, 23 February 2017.
These are women who have committed violence against a family member or a member of the community, and have been given the opportunity to change for the better, through court ordered counseling programs with SVSG.
Anger and stress management, family relationships, goal setting and spiritual guidance form part of the counseling rehabilitation program. From 4 weeks to 3 months depending on the duration of the program as referred from the Courts, these mothers remain committed to change not only for themselves, but most importantly, for their families. And SVSG is mindful of the difficulty in achieving behavioral change.
The graduation will see our proud mothers, the Champions of domestic violence in the homes, celebrating their achievements. There has been noted improvement in relations with their husbands, children, parents, siblings and their neighbors; they have learned self-control when in conflicting situations; most importantly, they have been agents of change, advocating for violence free families in their women’s committee, village and church communities.
SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledged the commitment from the volunteer facilitators from different church denominations, who been working with SVSG in providing counseling for these mothers. “As a community, we have nurtured the goodness in these mothers, now becoming Champions of violence in the homes.” Siliniu Lina Chang
The girls who were kindly hosted by Pastor Jeremy & Shelley Faumuina and their church in Christchurch for an overseas experience, have now safely returned.
They have expressed their great appreciation to Pastor Jeremy & Shelley and the new friends they made while in Christchurch. One of the girls stated that "she will be praying from now on so that she can go back." The other said that she was very grateful for the opportunity to improve her language skills in English as well as learning to be courteous to others.
The girls both felt that their communication skills have improved as well as speaking in English, and they are more confident to communicate to others when they need something. They also like the opportunity to continue to correspond with their new friends in Christchurch, as letters have already been handed into the office to be posted to Pastor Jeremy & Shelley and their new friends.
Thank you Pastor Jeremy & Shelley and the SVSG (Christchurch) supporters, for a successful Homestay Programme.
The Children at the Campus were treated by Tupai Bruno and the team at the Magic Circus of Samoa, to a magic show specially for them. The children loved it and the Board expresses their gratitude to Tupai Bruno and the Team for putting a smile on these children.
We wish you success in your show and thank you once again.
During the school break, there was repair work done to the House of Hope, the first shelter built on the Campus of Hope. Repairs included replacing the floor in the main areas of the house, painting as well as repairs to the roof.
We thank you to all those who were kind enough to help out with this work and ensuring that the repairs are completed before school starts for the children, giving them enough time to move back into their home.
We also give special thanks to our Australian friend from the Gold Coast who continually helps SVSG and also helped with this project.
The total cost to the repairs amounted to ST21,102.00
The older girls, majority of whom are survivors of rape, and cared for at the Campus of Hope shelter facility operated by Samoa Victim Support Group, kicked start 2017 with a retreat activity.
On the theme ‘Sisters of Hope – the Rising Stars’, the 3 days retreat from 2 – 4 February 2017 saw the successfully reintegrated survivors, and the survivors still in residence at the Campus of Hope, coming together as they believed that ‘sharing is caring’. The objective of the retreat was to improve self-esteem through sharing and rising up like stars.
And the girl survivors now returned back into the community attested to the importance of regaining self-esteem, confidence and rising up from their bad experiences. Like stars, they have risen up themselves; some have secured full time jobs, other are pursuing further studies while others are settling down and have started families of their own.
This is older sisters sharing with their sisters still in residence at the Campus about the importance of having hope; of regaining lost self-esteem; of learning to trust their abilities to rise up and become the stars that they are.
SVSG member and pastor’s wife, Valasi Patea of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa Luatuanuu, performed the opening prayer and a guided the girls retreat by a verse from Psalm 121 “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”
Guest speakers included Osana Seiuli and her Team from the National Health Nutrition Division, reminding the girls about the importance of a healthy body and mind in their rehabilitation and their rise up from the hardships they faced. Taumuafa Toma Vavae and Perive Faamausili Saena were part of the guest speakers, sharing on the love of God and how His grace, will heal them to full recovery.
SVSG President and the Campus staff were with the girls during the 3-days retreat; sharing the pain, the tears and finding reward in knowing that the older girls now with the community, have returned to share on their journey with their sisters still in residence. As Sisters of Hope, our Girls are the Rising Stars.
‘Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil’, this verse from the Psalm of David Chapter 23, according to Reverend Utufua Naseri sets the guiding principle of SVSG’s work for 2017 as we set sail in our journey together with the God of Miracles.
Held at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral at Mulivai on Sunday, Father Falaniko Matulino, the Head of the Apia Vicariate of the Catholic Church welcomed the Head of State, Afioga Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, the Deputy Prime Minister, Honorable Fiame Naomi Mataafa, members of cabinet and hundreds of leaders from churches, villages, government ministries, partners and friends of SVSG who came together in prayer.
It was really a coming together of a Family, to pray and to uplift together our support services to the God of Miracles.
Church leaders from different denominations took part during the service. We had Reverend Taumafai Komiti of the Methodist Church Matafele; Associate Pastor Faamatuainu Amosa Pouoa of the Apia Harvest Centre and Reverend Dr. Mosese Mailo, Principal of the Piula Theological College offering our prayers. Then we had our bible readings by Pastor Sauileola Timo of the Seventh Day Adventist Afega and President Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints Malie Stake.
The beautiful hymns were sung by choirs from the Catholic Church Luatuanuu, CCCS Church Toamua, Methodist Church Matafele and the SVSG Village Representatives who travelled all the way from Falealili. And the big island of Savaii did not want to be missed out on the Thanksgiving Service. Elderly and SVSG village representatives from Savaii travelled on the last ferry to take attend the service.
And through Rev. Utufua Naseri’s sermon, SVSG’s Family was reminded that in our journey, we will encounter difficulties and challenges, but only through the divine intervention of the God of Miracles, will we be able to endure and continue. He reminded SVSG and its family of supporters “to take guidance from the Psalm of David as it speaks honestly about the reality of life; that there will be green pastures associated with good days, then still waters, mountains, the obstacles that we have to overcome, then hatred and rejection associated with the valley of the shadow of death.”
But throughout the despair, the uncertainty, the rejection, the hatred or when we are trapped at ground zero, we will find love in God’s grace, as we ‘Journey Together with the God of Miracles’.
SVSG Patron Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau together with the Chair of the Board, Ms. Georgina Lui acknowledged the coming together of the SVSG Family in prayer. Faafetai, Faafetai, Faafetai tele lava.
On 26 January 2017, the Staff Social Committee of the Samoa Stationery & Books (SSAB) presented Samoa Victim Support Group with ST2,000, as a gift for the start of the new year.
SSAB has always supported the work of SVSG but this donation was from the staff’s social funds. The social conscience of the SSAB Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Fiti Leung Wai is admired for it appears to be now adopted by members of her staff. So thank you to the staff of SSAB for this wonderful and positive inspiration for the start of the new year.
Sometimes, it is not only the gift itself that matters, but the act of support which is needed from time to time, to show us that the work is appreciated. This serves to strengthen our spirit in continuing the work.
From the SVSG Board, thank you Fiti and staff. The gift and your show of support could not have come at a better time.
“Journey together with the God of Miracles” is the theme for the 2017 Thanksgiving Service for the Samoa Victim Support Group’s extended family of supporters, donors and friends.
To be held at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral at Mulivai on Sunday, 29 January 2017 at 6.00pm, the Thanksgiving Service will bring together the SVSG Family to worship, to pray and to thank our Heavenly Father for His guidance throughout 2016.
As we started on our journey in 2017, we once again seek His wisdom and grace, to lead and guide our journey throughout the year.
All the churches, the government ministries and corporations that we work with, the diplomatic corps that have assisted us, the business community that have walked in faith with us, the partners that we have fostered along the way and the individuals that believe in the Cause, are invited to join us in prayer.
Let us uplift our supporting work for the victims of crimes and the vulnerable people in our community to the Lord because a community that prays together stays together.
To God be the glory always, as we journey together in His grace.
“Folau ma le Atua Fai Vavega”
Michael and Anna Wade all the way from Vancouver in the United States of America were at the Campus of Hope today spending a full day with the kids. They had organised games with the kids, and the kids taught our American friends how to play Samoan rugby.
The day ended with a barbecue and ice cream provided by this kind couple who included a day at the Campus on their holiday in Samoa. The kids enjoyed themselves as this was a wonderful treat during school holidays right before school starts. The SVSG Board are deeply grateful to Michael and Anna for taking their time out for the children.
May you enjoy the rest of your holiday in Samoa and God Bless you in everything you want to achieve.
President of SVSG Samoa