A young man from Puapua, Savai’i, is the Disability Champion of the Year 2016.
Tusiga Peseta Taofiga was crowned during the Disability Human Rights Awards organised by Nuanua O le Alofa (N.O.L.A) at the Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi Building yesterday.
Tusiga, who is the only child of Peseta and Mua Taofiga, of Pu’apu’a, was among a number of award winners honoured during the ceremony.
• Ministry of the Year Award: Samoa Shipping Corporation
• N.G.O./Private Sector of the Year Award: Samoa Soccer Federation
• Inclusive Coverage of the Year: Ioana Emeleta Tupai
• Inclusive Education Institution of the Year: Gataivai Primary school
N.O.L.A Office Manager, Mataafa Faatino Utumapu said the awards is funded by Australian government to acknowledge individuals, N.G.O’s and government ministries who have and continue to create initiatives to recognise, protect and promote the rights of persons with disabilities for the years 2015 – 2016.
“This is our commitment to remove barriers hindering the full participation and inclusiveness of persons with disabilities in all aspects of the Samoan society,” she said.
“Furthermore, the programme intends to encourage nominees to recognize the central role of N.O.L.A as the voice of and for persons with disabilities to work in partnership with Government, C.S.O.S and the wider community for the protection and promotion of their rights.
Australian High Commissioner, Sue Langford, congratulated the award winners. She was particularly pleased with Samoa’s recent decision to ratify the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
“This is such a significant month and it’s not just about Joseph Parker winning the WBO belt but it is also the month that Samoa ratified the convention on the rights of people with disabilities,” she said.
“I comment NOLA for their active role in this collaboration process. Ratification and implementation of the convention means more accessible inclusive communities for all including people with disabilities.
“I think award ceremonies such as this is very important, they highlight best practise and recognise achievements and they promote innovation, ideas and new ways of doing things.”
“We are pleased to be supporting this award and proud to be supporting this award that acknowledge employers, church groups, govt ministries and many more to involve people with disabilities,” she said. There is much more that needs to be done.
“We all need to continue to work together in partnership to ensure that all children with disabilities do go to school not just in Apia but all over the country.”
The Minister of Women, Community and Social Development, Faimalotoa Kika Stowers, was scheduled to speak on behalf of the government but was not able to make it.
A.C.E.O of the Ministry, Louisa Apelu, spoke on behalf of the government to congratulate all the award winners.