A Good Samaritan is stepping up to help the growing number of children resorting to a life of begging on the streets of Apia.
The Managing Director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (A.D.R.A), Su’a Julia Wallwork, has announced a plan to utilize the children’s singing and dancing abilities to benefit them and their families.
This will be done through a dance and singing group to be put together with the help of well-known musician, Su’a June Ryan, and award winning dance choreographer, Seiuli Allan Alo.
Should everything fall into place, the project will begin at the end of the month.
“These kids are spat upon and sworn at because people think they are a bother to the public,” said Su’a Julia. “But what people don’t see beyond these children is that there’s a genuine need for them so this is to help the kids feel good about themselves.”
Su’a said she believes the children have so much to offer to the community.
“I want the kids to build up their self esteem and I want them to know they have God given talents rather than just being the subject of ridicule.
“This programme can let them stand with pride in front of an audience and perform with dignity and pride.”
Although the programme will be mainly facilitated by Seiuli and Su’a June, the Managing Director of A.D.R.A said other helpers are welcome.
“We haven’t found a venue yet to conduct this but I am going around looking for one and my eye is set upon the Tu'utu'uileloloto Hall because it is right in the centre of Apia,” she said.
“I will be visiting them and hopefully they will agree to help me. This is just something to help out with these kids because I know they have so much talent but it’s because no one has actually come out to help them.
“People call these children all sorts of names but if we have something like this I’m sure people will have a different perspective about them once this programme starts.”
The programme will be held twice a week for an hour with the goal being a concert at the end of the year.
But that’s not all.
“They will get to perform for the Home of the Elders at Mapuifagalele or the hospital and sing Christmas Carols,” she said.
“This is a way of allowing them and giving an opportunity to build up their self esteem and their personal dignity because at the moment they have no dignity because they are being mistreated by everyone.
“This will be also be a good chance to actually take action on these kids because there have been a lot of talks and programmes on street vendors and also child labour but no one has really stood up and actually put in action what’s being discussed to help these children so that the number of vendors can decrease.
“This will be the first step which I hope will be the trigger to more solutions and more actions on the plan.”
Asked how she plans to recruit the children, Su’a said she will be visiting the individual families to get permission from their parents.
“I hope the children will participate in this, taking an hour away from selling their products to do something for themselves,” she said.
“I want to have this before the end of June. I have to visit families of these kids to tell them about this programme.
“To ask the parents to support this by allowing their children to come and participate in this programme then everything else will fall into place.
“I also know that this programme is going to lead into bigger things because there will be a lot of children that I know will eventually come and join this programme.”
She added that this is another way A.D.R.A can help the community.
“If we can make a smile on one child’s face a little bit brighter then it’s always worthwhile.”