Two hundred and fifty youth who fronted a women’s movement focused on respect as an approach to end violence against women and girls, have successfully completed a 5-months conscious-raising training.
The youths were chosen from a network of 100+ church youth groups registered as SVSG Junior members, with the SVSG Junior being the youth sub-group of the Samoa Victim Support Group.
Over the last 12 months, the 250 youth have been trained to become youth ambassadors as part of the Samoa Spotlight Initiative to end domestic and intimate partner violence. They have done this by learning about Youth and the Culture of Respect; Youth and breaking the cycle of violence; Youth Empowerment; and Serving the community with love and respect.
Through these empowerment programs, the youth have shone the spotlight on the traditional Samoan culture that supports male respect for women and girls to end violence.
The practicality of this learning was put to the test over the last two weeks when the social animators from Savaii and Manono-tai carried out community work for the elderly with ill health, with people with disabilities and the vulnerable members of the community.
At Samata-i-tai, SVSG Youth Officer Amalea Vaai spend the day with a 73 year old. “I never got the chance to experience such caring for my own grandmother, and know how it feels like to serve her with love and respect. Caring for this elderly fulfilled this for me.”
On the other side of Savaii at Sapulu Salelologa, Tali Lene of the CCCS Youth from Taga, lead the youth groups from the CCCS Iva, LDS Papa Puleia, SDA Salelavalu and the Methodist Youth of Saletagaloa, in fixing the home of a vulnerable elderly who lives by himself. “The learnings over the last 5 months have really challenged us mentally on gender roles that are socially acceptable, for instance, women tidy the house while men tend to the plantation. Look at us, we haven’t died from tidying this elderly’s house.” Tali Lene
The Upolu social animators will have their turn to serve the community with love and respect this coming weekend. So if you see young people working alongside the road wearing yellow t-shirts boldly marked RESPECT, stop and meet our future leaders, who are doing a great job in breaking the cycle of violence against women and girls.
“Thank you UNESCO Pacific for choosing to partner with SVSG on such an exciting project.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President