A 14-year-old boy has spoken out about why he left his home to seek refuge in the Samoa Victim Support Group shelter as a result of being abused by his father.
The boy, whose village and his name are withheld, said he was tired of the abuse and he was afraid for his life.
“My mother left because my father used to beat her up,” he said.
“Then my father married the second woman, however this time he is with his third wife.”
Being the eldest of three siblings, he said life was hard for him because he had to earn income for his family.
“Every morning I wake up and I go get coconut coir and then I have to go sell it for $2 tala and popcorn for $1 tala.”
He says he has never been part of any formal education programme in his whole life because his priority was the financial stability of his family.
“I don’t go to town. I usually go around our village to sell coconut coir and my popcorns. I usually start selling from the afternoon until 6pm.”
He said if he didn’t sell all the coconut coir and popcorns his father would beat him.
According to the boy, his father used to hold a bush knife or throw stones at him.
“From these beatings, I have a scar on my head, my hand and on my back."
“One day I went for my usual routine and then I met this other woman who asked me why I am not in school. I told this lady that I was told by my father to sell these goods."
“She was the one who called the Samoa Victim Support Group help line and I was brought in under their care in 2016.”
He said it was the best decision ever because he finally got a feel of the education system.
“I am now able to develop other talents such as joining the Ailao club which I am so happy to be a part of.”
He admits that he still misses his home.
“I want to go back to my family because my father and his wife are no longer staying there,” he said.
“I know I am facing a lot of challenges in life, but I still love my father. In the mean time, I am also hoping that one day I will again meet my mother."
“I am thankful for the work that Samoa Victim Support Group has done for me, which I am hoping one day I will pay back what they have done by working for them, lending my help to other children.”
It is a different story for 16-year-old Sam from the United States of America.
Sam is back on the streets after being housed at the S.V.S.G.
“I do not like staying there because we are not allowed to go outside the gate,” he said.
“I do not have any parents here, I am here by myself.”
Sam was spotted selling soft drinks and snacks at the Savalalo Flee market yesterday.
Gordon Lemisio, a member of S.V.S.G. Juniors says for their first project this year, the S.V.S.G. Juniors will open the School of Hope to these vendors.
“The newly-built school that was funded by some colleges from Australia and was opened last year will be made available for these students,” he said.
“We do know that it is going to be hard to approach parents of these children to allow their children to come to school, but we have to find a way to do it."
“Our focus is to empower youths of Samoa because they are the future of their families, village and Samoa as a whole.”