Group makes health services access easier

Born in Lufilufi, Samoa, Akerei Maresala-Thomson has grown his passion of helping people with his non-for-profit organisation. 

MYRIVR Trust was established in 2014 under the name Multi agency services application (M.A.S.A.) to cater to the needs of frontline police who helped communities in preventing the likelihood of reaching a crisis with free drivers’ license, budgeting, parenting and holiday programmes. 

“There were so many awesome services and programmes in the community that communities weren't aware of until they attempted suicide or was referred to the courts after an arrest,” Akerei said. 

“Our team felt strongly that people resorted to making poor decisions out of necessity and desperation and not because they're inherently bad people.”

So now MYRIVR Trust focuses on making health and social services easier for people by through a free app created as the world’s premium one stop shop of services that provide support in the areas of health, safety and well-being. 

“We work virtually, but there are teams based in Auckland, New Zealand and Gold Coast, Australia. We have four in New Zealand and two in Australia.”

Akerei never dreamt of operating a business and it’s just been a by-product of helping people. 

“I traditionally don't prescribe to the notion of mixing money and helping people, but the reality is for every N.G.O. is that you need a business model to survive and one of the biggest mistakes we have as N.G.O. is that we rely heavily on government for funding,” he said to the Samoa Observer. 

“That comes with a lot of red tape and strings attached and so the danger therein is that you end up losing the essence of what your service is about. We learned this from being rejected by New Zealand Police and our Government here in New Zealand. 

“Then the Samoan hustle came out which led us to America, Australia and the Pacific. Most of our funding now comes from these countries. We're in developments with the state of California, Florida and Washington D.C. we would never have been able to do this had we had our government’s and New Zealand police support, which is very limiting.”

Akerei said there is no one stop shop in app directory of health and social services that is free to the community like MYRIVR and this makes them unique. 

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