Having experienced the privilege and honour of being awarded the prestigious New Zealand Prime Minister’s Fellowship award in 2015, businesswoman Fiti Leung Wai was inspired to start something similar here in Samoa, but based on the premise of rewarding academic excellence.
Last Friday during the award ceremony for the S.S.A.B. /N.Z. Prime minister Scholarship award, the C.E.O. was proud of all the recipients knowing that education is the key to getting ahead in life.
She also expressed her hopes for each student’s success beyond tertiary education whether it is in Samoa or overseas.
“For me personally, I think the main objective in these scholarships being awarded is to help others and also serving Samoa whether that’s serving here or overseas, either way I’m for it. But I believe in always coming back to give back to the government and also the community,” she said.
“Samoa is too small and I even spoke to Quendule to think internationally too because when we go outside and we see opportunities, you actually feedback that information to our country, especially like regional jobs.”
Mrs. Leung Wai said support for scholars needed to extend post-education to create pathways to rewarding jobs and he had some ideas on how that can be achieved.
“Given there are quite a lot of us coming back, we have people with postgraduate degrees and gone on to further education but what’s the whole point if we don’t know about the opportunities out there?”
“There are a lot of Samoans in those regional jobs and I’m thinking we should actually do a survey on them and find out how do those people get there?”
“We don’t know about a lot of opportunities out there, but if someone did a research on how many Samoans are posted in regional roles such as in the U.N. or S.P.R.E.P. and outside of here, we can find out how they got there and the information can be used to help up and coming graduates.”
S.S.A.B. hopes a regional network will eventually be created to help out Samoan graduates looking for jobs.
“Networking is important for our people to know about the right opportunities available to them outside.”
“There are a lot of capable people in Samoa who are not aware of the opportunities so there should be a point of reference where people can go and find about regional jobs available for our graduates.”
“Those are things I would like to see happen in the future, I know a lot of qualified people here who I know can do better outside and give back to our country and then later can return to improve our progress here.”
According to Ms. Leung Wai, combining educational excellence with diligence and gratitude in her view will inevitably result in being prosperous. In response to the gratitude expressed by some of the S.S.A.B. scholars about the company’s history of supporting community she said: “Giving and prosperity go hand in hand and a lot of people come and support S.S.A.B. because they know we support the community and that’s added to our brand.”
“When we first prayed for God’s guidance and this is the truth. My husband and I, we prayed to God to bless us so that we could be a blessing to others. We have to keep our part of the bargain because He has blessed us, but that’s God’s heart, God’s will is for us to prosper and to do well in life. I want God’s heart and blessings to flow onto others.”