Child vendors program to be held annually

The Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG) Juniors’ “Buddying up” program will become an annual event and will aim to get more child vendors involved next year.

Thirteen child vendors in the inaugural 2019 program were also recipients of scholarship support from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and a New Zealand-based couple. 

The SVSG Juniors vice president, Franzisca Sione, said the program will become an annual event and they hope to reach out to more children next year. 

As part of the 10-day program, 30 child vendors were paired with youth and had the chance to visit various offices like the Fire and Emergency Services Authority, the Ministry of Police, TV3, Samoa Rugby Union, Samoa Observer, Radio 2AP, and the Taumeasina Island Resort. 

They also contributed to the community by cleaning the town area – from the flea market at Sogi to the Black Sand beach – at the Apia waterfront. The program was funded by the ILO with the aim of promoting the significance of education in the lives of Samoan child vendors and improving their self-esteem. 

The participants were presented with certificates and special awards at the conclusion of the program. The special prize winners included Vaelua Seumanu of Vaiusu (youth) and Ropeta Saena of Falelauniu (child vendor) who both received the best buddy award.

The best disciplined buddy award was given to Roy Mate of Luatuanuu (youth) and Olo Junior Salatielu of Nuu (child vendor). Faustina Aperaamo of Falelauniu was the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship courtesy of Eli and Wyndi Tagi of New Zealand, to cover Faustina’s education for this year.

The 12 other child vendors were also given tuition fee scholarships for primary education funded by ILO.

“For those that did not secure scholarships from ages 10 to 17 – opportunities are available to attend the Hot Soup Skill Building training program carried out by SVSG at the Campus of Hope –currently funded by the Office of the US Embassy.

“The SVSG Juniors have achieved so much, through the vendors now more disciplined – they have learnt the importance of respect, working as a team, looking after each other and most of all, the children value the importance of education,” added Franzisca.

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