Mother who is a street vendor speaks out

Siaumau Loni from Aele fou is calling on parents to ensure the safety of their children. 

The mother of seven is a street vendor and she says part of her new year’s resolution is to keep her children away from the streets. 

“I am urging other parents to do the same, to let their children stay at home for their own safety because we have seen how dangerous it is for our children to be on the streets at night,” Siaumau said.

Initially, she sold Band-Aids, matches and other goods around town with her 18-year-old daughter. 

However, when Samoa Observer spotted Siaumau on Tuesday, she was alone selling her goods in front of the Maria’s Pharmacy car park.

“My daughter was found by police officers in front of the Sanalele Complex around 2am and she was taken home,” she said. 

“She wasn’t selling any stuff at that time because she was with me and my husband who works around that area.

 “My daughter is now staying at home because I told her not to come and sell anymore. I will do it myself.”

Asked if her daughter had any chances of a formal education, she replied no. 

“She used to take one of her siblings to Fia Malamalama School; however she no longer attends school.

 “She never encountered any problems like being threatened by some drunken people on the streets, she usually sells from the morning until the evening and then we go together where my husband works.”

Siaumau added if they did not sell their goods to the public, then they wouldn’t survive.

 “In this life, if we do not find a way to earn money, our families will not be able to survive. 

“However, I do support the law that says that no children should be on the streets during school hours and that they need to have proper education.

“The choice is there for a parent to make because I already made mine,” she said.

The Labor and Employment Relations Act states that children under the age of 15 should not be employed, unless carrying out light and safe work suited to his or her ability.

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