Dare to dream and succeed

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

Homegrown success stories are always sweet to read. 

It’s because they are the sort of stuff that motivates, inspires and makes one believe that nothing is impossible. 

The meaning of success by the way differs from person to person. And most times, it’s something that takes an entire lifetime to achieve. It is why it is usually associated with grown ups and adults. 

But from what we’ve seen about Samoans lately, you don’t necessarily have to be a grown up to be successful.

A classic example is the story of Lupeoaunu’u Va’ai who featured on the front page of your newspaper last Friday. She is without a doubt an inspiration. 

At the tender age of 12, this young girl is destined for great things to come. It’s the sort of success story our young people should be moved and motivated by. 

Lupe is a simple, young girl who attends St. Mary’s Primary School. Her favourite subjects are Maths, English, Social Studies and Basic Science. From what we’ve been told, she loves learning about the environment and has established an environmental group in her school. This is amazing stuff.

At a time when our community is struggling with so many challenges involving young people, Lupe is a ray of hope. She is the embodiment of a much-needed breed of young Samoans growing up with a purpose and a destiny. 

Which means that Samoan children don’t have to look far for role models. There are many of them here; homegrown talent who have the potential to do great things to influence global developments. 

In the not too distant past, we’ve seen similar success stories such as Briana Fruean, Dr. Erna Takazawa and a few other females. Perhaps the only question is, where are the boys? 

Now for the uninitiated, Lupe won a Gold Medal award for her story ‘The Voice of an Island’ in the ‘Voices of Future Generations Children’s Story Writing Competition’ last year. She is in London for the launch of her book. Yes, imagine that, a young author from Samoa launching a book in London. 

Wow. That is the stuff of dreams, isn’t it? 

But that’s not all. Lupe has apparently committed to make the book into a series so that she will be writing a story every year until 2020.

And how does she feel about it?

“I am so happy,” she said. “I never ever thought that something like this would happen to me.”

Lupe by the way was 11 when she entered in the 2015 competition. That makes her success even more inspiring.

“I was so surprised to know that I had won a gold medal for my book,” she said.

“I wrote this story on what I have felt, thought and heard from the stories from my great-grandmother, it was easy for me to write as it came from my heart.

 “I hope people like it, and that we can learn from it and help save our Samoa and our planet.”

As for that London trip, she is elated.

“I’m so excited and nervous about this, it’s my first time to travel for such a long time on a plane, and to go to London,” she said.

“I hope to make friends with children from different places and countries and learn about the different problems that other children my age experience and the ways they think we can fix them, it may be something that we can do also.” 

As icing on the cake, because the Voice of an Island books touches on climate change, biodiversity protection and education, Lupe is also addressing an international audience during a session on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals on Climate Change, Biodiversity, Energy and Innovation in London.

Ladies and gentlemen, if that doesn’t motivate our young people to aim for the sky with their dreams, I don’t know what will. Lupe is an exceptional young lady. But her story is a uniquely Samoan story. She grew up on these shores, studied in our schools and she is now influencing global decisions by having her voice out there. At such a young age. 

This is inspirational. It is such a heartwarming story of success that should be shared. Furthermore, she is just getting started. There is a lot more to come so watch this space.

In the meantime, we say well done young Lupe. You have made us all proud. We also congratulate her parents, families, school, supporters and everyone else who played a role in her realizing her dream. Have a great Tuesday and God bless! 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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