‘A Ray of Hope’ for Samoa
"In an ideal world there would be no need for the Samoa Victims Support Group. In an ideal world there would be no need for the Ray of Hope Foundation, in an ideal world we would all have perfect families.
“Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world.”
With these words, the Chairman of the Ray of Hope Foundation, Pepe Fia’ailetoa Fruean, presented the Ray of Hope house dream, founded out of the outpouring of love from musician friends of the late Raymond Fruean, after his untimely death.
Prime Minister and Ray of Hope Foundation Patron, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, officially handed over the Ray of Hope House to the Samoa Victims Support Group in order to house pregnant teenage victims of sexual violence and incest.
“Since 2007, 92 young girls who were victims of sexual violence and incest have needed S.V.S.G support during a time of emotional and physical distress in their lives,” said Pepe.
“For these girls S.V.S.G has been their shining light and pillar of hope during a time when even their own families had deserted them.
“Today the Ray of Hope Foundation has lent its shoulder to assist S.V.S.G in their work of rebuilding the lives of these young girls and giving them a ‘Ray of Hope’ to rebuild their young lives and look towards a positive future.”
The Ray of Hope house was built to accommodate up to 18 pregnant teenage victims and their trained caregiver.
A medical consultation room has been included for onsite consultations by volunteer medical professionals.
During the S.I.D.S conference in September 2014 the ‘Ray of Hope Concert” was organised by Brotha D, Andy Murane of Dawn Raid in partnership with Digicel to raise funds with the proceeds donated to S.V.S.G.
The Ray of Hope concert raised $100,000 towards the cause. The concert coincided with Digicel owner, Denis O’Brien’s trip participation at the SI.D.S private sector forum. Upon hearing about the fundraising effort for such a worthy cause, Mr. O’Brien donated a further $300,000 towards the project and challenged The Ray of Hope to use the money to ‘make a difference’.
The Ray of Hope Foundation was created as a vehicle to implement an infrastructure project and provide the necessary governance to ensure that the donors generosity would achieve its noble objectives of ‘making a difference’.
After engaging Samoa Victims Support Group, the Ray of Hope Foundation decided that there was a pressing need to build a house of ‘refuge and sanctuary; a ‘Ray of Hope house’ for the young pregnant victims and set about putting together the project to make the dream a reality.
At the time, a lot of the young pregnant victims were in the larger general dormitories at S.V.S.G with limited access to specialised antenatal medical care, counselling and private rooms.
For Siliniu Lina Chang and the S.V.S.G, the Ray of Hope house is a dream come true.
“Every day the ‘Ray of Hope’ house had only been just a dream,” she said.
“To see this dream become a reality is amazing, what more could we ask God for? This is something that you can cry and think about, emotionally looking at that place, the young girls and their heart breaking stories.
“I hope one day we might be able to let Samoa know the positive results of this labour of love. As a result of good medical attention, counselling, comfort, a safe and secure environment of the Ray of Hope house, the girls are put in a positive place to help them to rebuild their lives.”
Moving forward the Ray of Hope Foundation with the strong support of Digicel, will continue to call upon the Corporate community and development partners to take up the funding challenge of ensuring the long term sustainability of the Ray of Hope house. In addition, the Ray of Hope Foundation will continue to raise community awareness of these serious social issues impacting our society and provide advocacy and voice for the young victims.
About Ray of Hope Foundation
Established March 2015
Hon. Auelua Fatialofa Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi
Salausa Dr. John Ah Ching – Associate Minister of Health.
Su’a Hellene Wallwork – Partner for Wallwork Lamb Lawyers.
Suluimalo Amataga Penaia – C.E.O of M.N.R.E.
Seugamaalii Jammie Saena – Managing Director for S.W.A
Kristabelle Westurlund Cowley .– Farmer Joe & Ah Liki Group
Leaupepe Talai Lene – Digicel Samoa.
Pepe Fia’ailetoa Fruean – Digicel Samoa Chairman.