The children survivors of abuse, neglect, and exploitation, cared for at the Campus of Hope shelter facility (operated by SVSG), and attending the School of Hope on campus, celebrated their cultural day on Friday, with students performing traditional Samoan dances, cooking local dishes and promoting traditional weaving.
The theme for this year’s culture day was ‘respect your culture’, with all the activities highlighting this theme. The school was divided into two groups named after the two islands of Manono and Apolima.
Fiu Fetinai Leaupepe, who is one of the school counsellors, has been supporting the teachers and trainers at the school in coordinating this event which is part of the school’s annual calender.
According to Mrs. Leaupepe, “students attending the School of Hope are from different backgrounds with most of them having gone through abusive circumstances in their young lives.”
“The culture day was therefore more than just a celebration of culture, but also a part of healing for these children survivors of abuse.”
Majority of the students attending the school are adolescents, ages 10 – 19 years old. As such, the culture day aimed at encouraging participation, respecting different opinions and keeping others trust, as part of the adolescent development for these students.
Some of the local dishes prepared during the culture day was moa tunu pa’u or roasted chicken while weaving of the mailo (coconut leaf food basket) was the students favourite.
At the end of the day, the students have demonstrated their respect for their culture, through the activities they participated in.
The Chair of the SVSG Board, Georgina Lui therefore acknowledged the partnership with UNICEF Pacific in supporting SVSG’s rehabilitation programs for the children survivors of violence, neglect and exploitation.