Much have been said and reported by the media this week on the child’s rights, as Samoa hosts the historic 84th Extraordinary Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
But at the serene compound of the Campus of Hope which currently shelters more than 80 abused and abandoned children, Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG) continues the daily struggle to unravel what lies beneath the whole child protection work.
This is due to the fact that it is a service beyond the provision of shelter, clothing and food for the rescued children. It is a service inclusive of the rehabilitation and restoration processes for each child.
From dealing with the mental health of a girl child impregnant from a sexual abuse experience, to the wellbeing of a girl child attempting to abort a pregnancy from the same. Then we have new borns with health complications from attempted abortion which required 24-hour care at the hospital. How about the mental health of the girl child who abandoned a child due to the stigma associated with being sexually abused? The intergenerational effect of trauma on these young girls is one of the inherent risks. And through these young girls experience as child violence survivors, there pathways in life are basically hopeless.
These are some of the ugliest effects of children’s rights violation that grows darker by the day, yet as a child protection agency, we deal with these on a daily basis.
As family to these children, we give them hope. And as survivors, we have seen some of them become child rights advocates themselves.
Fighting for a more just world for children therefore is not just a single organization’s responsibility; it’s a collective responsibility. And as with any movement, the power is precisely in the collective.
According to the President of SVSG, Siliniu Lina Chang, “SVSG was set up with a vision to ensure that victims of crimes and those in need are well supported to be safe and in control of restoring their lives through quality service. To date, SVSG continues to aspire towards achieving this vision above and beyond the call for action. It is a service from the heart.”