Young man driven by love for his family
When one door closes, find another.
Toni Leautuli, 22, of Salelologa and Magiagi, once worked for a construction contractor but when that ended, he turned to his other passion to help his family survive. That is elei making.
Toni, a father of two, runs his own business with his wife. They sell elei lavalava and sometimes, they can make as much as $200 a day.
“I’m not perfect myself but I am doing the best I can to meet the needs and wants of my two kids and also my wife,” he said.
“Everything is about challenges, without struggles you can’t get anywhere in life. I believe where there is no struggle there is no success.”
Asked for his opinion on what he sees as some of the most pressing challenges for Samoa today, Toni said unemployment is a big problem.
“The government must realise that finding a job nowadays is hard even if you’re a graduate with good qualifications,” he said. “Young people need jobs, they need to find ways to make money.”
For Toni, he has found his. He works hard to print his materials and walks around to sell them.
He also finds help from elsewhere.
“We send some of our stuff to our family in American Samoa so they can sell it there,” he said.
And his advice for youth?
“I encourage every youth in Samoa that there are many ways to deal with struggles,” he said. “At the end of the day, you will pull yourself through it.
“The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he/she would rather be dead.
“When we are stuck in difficult situations, always remember that struggles give us courage and strength to make the right decisions.”
Toni said his young family motivates him to work harder.
“When I feel like giving up, I look to my children and my wife,” he said.
“I learnt how many great things could happen if you put your family first.”
Lastly, Toni reminds people to be faithful in whatever they do.
He encourages them not to forget that we are humans and sometimes we fail.
“It’s okay when we fail,” he said. “Just get back up and go again.”