Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.) has launched their alumni advocacy programme.
Held at their office in Apia, the alumni group comprises offenders who have graduated from their advocacy programme.
The programme has graduated 700 participants both women and men so far.
S.V.S.G. President, Siliniu Lina Chang, said the main idea behind the programme is to initiate change for the participants.
Siliniu says she looks forward to the members who have graduated from the programme to take full responsibility in handling themselves after the programme and also focus on helping others in the long run.
S.V.S.G. member Niutuiatua Onesemo added the main idea is to monitor and maintain the changes for them to become role models.
The advocacy programme focuses on anger management, stress management, drugs and alcohol management.
Fiu Fetina’i Leaupepe, a certified counsellor who is also a registered nurse that is serving under the programme said: “I am very thankful to the president for facilitating the offenders through this initiative.”
Leaupepe assists by counselling on anger management, stress management and communication skills.
“I have also witnessed changes in the lives of the people whom I counselled. The immense change in their lives gives me great hope and desire to work with more people,” Leaupepe stated.
Alumni chairman, Pastor Fa’alili Pepe Ofisa expressed his appreciation of the programme. He said instead of going to prison, offenders were given a life-changing opportunity.
“I want to change lives especially because I was in their shoes. I also suffered from great anger but I was able to overcome it,” he said.
Pastor Ofisa said religion is a key factor to that change and the beginning of a successful life.