Much has been said about the children’s right to education, the exposure of the children to danger on the street as vendors and how a nation’s future lies with our children.
However, on Day 2 of the Buddy up program by the SVSG (Juniors) and the child vendors, what came out clearer from observing the child vendors under the Program is that, they are excited to learn, just like all our children.
The boys started the day learning about our culture, taking up the young untitled men’s role during the ava ceremony to welcome the delegates to the International Youth Meeting hosted by the Samoa Victim Support Group. It was at this ceremony that they got to meet Tomasi Peni of the International Labour Organisation, the donor for this program. The girls on the other hand joined the SVSG staff at the office for its normal prayer meetings every Tuesdays and Thursdays morning
The workplace tours that followed saw a transformation in attitude towards learn, not only for the child vendors, but more so for the youths that they are buddying up with. At the Fire and Emergency Services Authority, Commander Kueni Alatimu took the children for a tour of the facilities, explaining the basics in safety during an emergency. The children were curious and there were lots of questions. Most noticeable was how the children and the youths scribbled away in their exercise books as they updated their diaries on their learning adventure.
From FESA, the next stop was at the Ministry of Police, where Inspector Tologatā Misieliota Tamaleaoa, the Assistant Commissioner of the Community Engagement Unit danced through his demonstrate to the children on the Ministry’s role for a safer Samoa.
Culminating a long day of learning was a lunch enjoyed by the children and their youth buddies at the Pinati Restaurant; again, for most of them, it was the first time they have sat down and enjoyed a meal in a restaurant.
It has been an exciting day of learning for the Buddying up program. Seeing the eagerness in their eyes as we went from place to place, their curious questions, all along, clinging onto their youth buddies, it has been a rewarding experience.
The possibilities are numerous, as the opportunities opened up by getting the child vendors to learn and be excited about it, will eventually lead them back to the classrooms.
President of SVSG Samoa