Opinions vary on whether poverty exists in Samoa.
Some agree and some disagree. They all have their reasons.
For Fa’apoi Feepo Fruean, 28 years old from Faleula, he truly believes that poverty of food does not exist in Samoa.
However, he said the poverty that exists is the lack of opportunities for people to earn money.
Fa’apoi who is a Physical Education teacher at Levaula College says that unemployment is a real issue in Samoa.
“The problem is, there are not enough employment opportunities for our people to earn money,” he said.
“Many people graduate from Universities then wait for a while until they get a job.
“That is sad because parents push their children to go to school and to finish school so that they can find better jobs.
“But the problem is, there are not enough opportunities for our people to work and earn money for their children.
“For most people, they now prefer being farmers and fishermen. I mean that’s not a bad thing, but the only sad part about that is that we have so many farmers too.
“Almost every family owns a plantation now and because of that, our markets are starting to get empty because everyone depends on their own plantations now.
“They don’t have to go to the market to buy taro or banana.”
He went on to say that even for farmers, there are not enough opportunities for them to sell and market their products so that they can make profit.
While some people have been critical about the influx of new Chinese businesses in Samoa, Fa’apoi begs to differ.
He said the Chinese businesses in Samoa are providing employment opportunities.
“If you go to Chinese Restaurants and shops, you will see that most of the employees are Samoans,” he said.
“And to me, that’s the good thing about these Chinese businesses. If we shut down all these businesses, our people who are already working there will be unemployed.”
As a sports master at Levaula, he believes that also in sports, there are not enough opportunities for our people to develop their talents.
“If you look at the development of sport in Samoa, sometimes it’s good and most of the time it is just hopeless.
“The problem is, we have a lot of talent in Samoa, but there are not enough opportunities for the players to develop their talents.
“For an example, most of the schools focus on the development of rugby in schools. So we have rugby tournaments. What about other sports like soccer and volleyball?
“We all need to develop those sports and open up opportunities for our people because that can also be a career.”
Lastly, Fa’apoi reiterated that there is no poverty in Samoa.
“We have a beautiful country free from war and other things.
“We don’t have poverty as well. No one has ever died from hunger in Samoa, and that is why I say that there is no poverty in Samoa.
“The only poverty that is found in Samoa is poverty of opportunities for our people to earn money for their families.”