They rise up in the morning to a box of goodies to be delivered around town for a living. Others rise up to the stench from the Tafaigata Landfill as they look for food and for any useful items that can still be of any use to their families, even the expired goods dumped from wholesale companies are a luxury.
These were the lives of the child vendors that have been captured by Samoa Victim Support Group, through Operation ABC, a survey exercise carried out in the beginning of the year on child vendors around the Vaitele Industrial area. It was not the life of a normal child with the right to life or the right to education. As a child protection agency, SVSG took these children under its care.
At the Campus of Hope, what was once a garage has now been turned into a training camp for the future entrepreneurs under the Hot Soup Skill Building Training. An initiative that now sees child vendors from the Tafaigata Landfill and the Vaitele Industrial Area, learn how to write their names and read the alphabet in the mornings, then start on their skill building training in the afternoon. They have learnt how to earn a living from the work of their hands, such as handicraft, carving, carpentry, fabric printing, the opportunities are endless. Their enthusiastic in being educated, trained and fed sees them staying up late at the Campus to finish their work, having their soup, and enjoying each other’s company in a positive environment. It takes them away from being exposed in violent situations while being child vendors. Mosaic mirros are some of the creation from the Hot Soup Training Camp, and you are welcome to buy their products to support getting child vendors off the streets.
This is all part of SVSG’s support services to target the root causes of crimes and related social issues, through education, through teaching these children how to fish, rather than just giving them fish for the day.
The Hot Soup Skills Building Training is still a work in progress. However, what is obvious is that we are making progress in the transformation of these children’s lives, from being child vending to being educating. We know we have a long way to go, but we are changing lives, one child at a time.
President of SVSG Samoa