Glimpse of hope for child vendors

A programme called “Buddy Up” is giving some of Samoa’s child vendors a glimpse of hope this week.

Organised by the Samoa Victim Support Group Juniors and their partners, the programme is to get the country’s child vendors to appreciate the importance of education and get back to school.

Funded by the International Labour Organisation (I.L.O.), part of the programme will see child vendors from Vaiusu, Tafaigata, Falelauniu and Nuu-fou, who were partnered with S.V.S.G (Junior) youth from the Luatuanuu Congregational Church of Samoa Youth, the Fasitoo-uta Youth, the Shrine of the Three Hearts Youth, the S.V.S.G. Youth Empowerment Program, and the Sisters of Hope, visit different work places.

S.V.S.G. Juniors vice president, Franzisca Sione, said the importance of the programme is to give hope to child vendors who are not educated.

“We are giving them tours to various work places so that we can instill ideas of education as a great importance on the outcome of their lives."

“We acknowledge our donor ILO for their support and also our village representatives that assisted in finding the child vendors and also we have registered each child and also with a signature of permission from the parents for their child’s participation,” he said. 

Ministry of Police representative, Inspector Tologata Misieliota Tamaleaoa, told the conference participants that all children should be in school. 

And they are working with the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture, and the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development to address the issue.

“Under the law, children should be in school, and if children are found selling items on the streets during school hours – they will be taken into police custody."

“We work closely with the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture and the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development with monitoring child vendors."

“Children, keep in mind that education is very important and that without a good education you are not able to secure a successful career in the future,” Tologata said.

Tomasi Peni from the I.L.O. said all child vendor participants had to get consent from their parents and families to parcticipate in the programme. 

“The S.V.S.G. Juniors have used the same ‘buddy’ principle with the abused children at the Campus of Hope shelter facilities, and it has worked wonders in boosting the self-esteem of the victims."

“It is also focused on the safety of the child vendors in downtown Apia, to be in line with the theme of the 2018 campaign,” he said.

The theme of this year’s campaign is “end gender-based violence in the world of work”. Part of the programme includes the youth and child vendors visiting selected workplaces. These included a police station and the Fire and Emergency Services in town yesterday.

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