Programme embraces Samoa‘s child vendors

The youth groups under the umbrella of the SVSG (Juniors) gathered yesterday at the Campus of Hope, Tuanaimato to kick start its first activities for 2019, with its Buddying up Programme with Child Vendors.

Funded by the International Labour Organsation, 30 child vendors from Vaiusu, Tafaigata, Falelauniu and Nuu-fou were buddied up with SVSG (Junior) youths from the Luatuanuu CCCS Youth, the Fasitoo-uta Youth, the Shrine of the Three Hearts Youth the SVSG Youth Empowerment Programme, and the Sisters of Hope.

George Komiti, the SVSG (Junior) youth from Toamua opened the programme with a prayer, followed by the keynote address by Eli Tagi of WE Accounting and Business Services in New Zealand.  

As a qualified Chartered Accountant with an Accounting Firm established in New Zealand in 2011, Eli Tagi, also of Satapuala and Sataua, spoke on the importance of having an education.  “It doesn’t matter which school you go to ….. whether you are rich or poor, what matters is that you have an education, and that you try your best.”

Ligi Toomata, the SVSG Village Representative for Vaiusu encouraged the children as a mother, reminding them that both the children and the parents have a part to play in the children’s education.  

A representative from the Emancipator in the Netherlands, who is here for the Youth Global Meeting hosted by the SVSG in Apia, also attended the official opening of the SVSG and the ILO Buddying Up Programme.

Following the formalities, the child vendors and the youth members were buddied up based on their age and gender.  There was a Buddy Registration, photo sessions and an opportunity for each buddy to get to know each other, before they presented to the whole group.  While it is still early in the programme, we have seen how the youths have shown patience, love and support towards the child vendors.  

Out of the 30 child vendors participating in the Buddy up Programme age 7 – 17 years old, 95% of them have never been to school before, and as such, needs a lot of help with writing their names, reading, and basic learning.

For the next 10 days, the SVSG (Juniors) will ensure that they will support these children through their learning journey.  Activities for the remainder of the Buddy up programme will include visits to different workplaces, giving the children an exposure to workplaces besides the streets, thereby encouraging their education.

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