Two Samoan girls vie for top children’s prize

By Alexander Rheeney 22 October 2018, 12:00AM

Two Samoan girls are on the list of nominees for the prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize 2018, which will be awarded next month in Cape Town, South Africa. 

The profiles of the nominees for this year’s awards are on the website of KidsRights Foundation, a Netherlands-based children’s aid and advocacy organisation, and two of them are Samoans.

Leilua Lino, 18, has been nominated for the award by the Samoa Victim Support Group under the child abuse category. Quenjule Slaven, 17, is nominated by the Office of the Ombudsman/National Human Rights Institution under the education and street children category.

According to their KidsRights profile, Leilua was raped by her father at the age of nine, and supported by the Samoa Victim Support Group in her fight for justice. Her father was sentenced to 29 years in prison and Leilua lives at the SVSG shelter, where she has become an Ambassador for Peace. 

“Her courage in the court and her awareness-raising in primary schools across Samoa (reaching more than 3000 children) has inspired many more children to report their abuse. She created peace gardens in her campus, which have helped 200 children to recover from trauma, and she speaks to them about her journey and the importance of finding inner peace,” stated her KidsRights profile.

Quenjule established an educational program for child-street vendors and the underprivileged children, but her program also started to attract other school program.

Her KidsRights profile stated the following: “It is a safe place for learning, where uniform, background and age don’t matter, as long as you have the desire to learn. Quenjule’s program has attracted so much funding and media attention that she has been able to provide full school scholarships for a number of child vendors whose parents can’t afford it. In the future, Quenjule hopes that programs like hers will spread to other parts of Samoa.”

The winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize 2018 will be announced on November 20. 

By Alexander Rheeney 22 October 2018, 12:00AM

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