Yazaki Samoa has become the first employer to accept a proposal from the Aoga Fiamalamalama for an employment trial for people with disabilities.
Telefoni Mauai, 16, and Fetoai Togia, 18, are the first students to have used the opportunity. And they are thrilled.
“I felt so secure, I was able to make friends and the staff were very helpful to me,” said Mauai.
“I thank Yazaki Samoa for the opportunity given to us to be able to work here and experience this kind of life. It’s new but I feel like I’m around my own family.”
According to Togia, the most important thing he had learnt was how the company embraced them and their abilities.
“The employees are very generous and they are very kind to us. I felt so comfortable,” said Togia.
The initiative came about through two Japanese who worked for both organizations.
Manager of Yazaki Samoa, Funefeai Oliva Vaai, said he was happy to be able to help Aoga Fiamalamalama.
“The aim of this programme is to make sure that people with special needs will be able to fit in to any workplace and be around like normal people,” said Funefeai.
“This is the third week of this special arrangement between the Yazaki Samoa and the Aoga Fiamalamalama.
“When we opened that door, we welcomed them like any other normal employee.”
Hiroshi Miyazaki, a volunteer from Japan working with the Aoga Fiamalamalama thanked the Vice President of the Yazaki Samoa, Shuji Tange for approving this special arrangement.
“We are very much pleased for giving us this opportunity for the first time,” said Mr. Miyazaki.
Tafale Tuimauga one of a school teacher said the selection of the two students for this program was not easy because they have to make sure that the students will be well prepared for such an opportunity.
“This is the start of preparing them to have a better future,” said Ms. Tuimauga.
Stephanie Verlaan a volunteer from Australian said no one wants to be in a school forever.
And with this opportunity, it helps develop the students to be more confident to know they can fit in anywhere.
Another Australian Volunteer, Blake Mitchell thanked Yazaki Samoa for the opportunity given to the Aoga Fiamalamalama.
He hopes their relationship with Fiamalamalama will continue.
“This is a very good opportunity especially for people with disabilities to have the chance to experience working.
"There is still a quite a high level of stigma in Samoa about disability and high level of unemployment."