The lack of formal employment opportunities in Savai’i needs to be addressed and what we need to look at is the root cause of this issue.
For 35-year-old Aleka Makaisa from the village of Si’ufaga, Savai’i, the answer lies in the inability of the government to create formal jobs for the people.
Aleka strongly believes the government should help create more jobs.
“I guess it’s up to them how they run our country but in my opinion, no matter how hard people from Savai’i try to raise this issue, the government does not listen,” he told the Village Voice team yesterday.
“It is so sad to see that there are not enough job opportunities and it’s one of the many problems in Savai’i.”
“We have so much to do here in this country, yet we don’t have enough jobs to help those in need like us.
“For Savai’i itself, we’ve seen that there are so many youths who graduate from university but they struggle to find jobs and they return to Savai’i and some of them are back to the plantation.
“That is what’s happening in Savai’i right now, things change from time to time but this problem of limited job opportunities on our island remains,” Aleka said.
“I think that is why people tend to migrate to Apia because they try to find a better place for their family.
“The sad thing is if they go to Apia they will also end up looking for employment.”
To help address this problem, Aleka cultivates the land to provide for his family.
“I was trying to find a job before but was unsuccessful, so that’s why I came back to work the land,” he said.
“And you know that most of us here in Savai’i rely heavily on the sea and the land for our daily livelihood, but everyone needs money to support their family.
“Yes we have food rotting everywhere but changes in our country nowadays and the increasing cost of living tell us that we need jobs to meet our family’s needs from time to time.”
Another issue Aleka wants to bring to light is the expensive cost of living.
“Life is really expensive now,” he said.
“In reality, $100 a day is not enough considering how everything costs these days especially in Savai’i.
“We have village, church and family obligations every week and it’s all about money.
“That’s why people of Savai’i need more job opportunities to take care of family needs,” Aleka added.