Condemn violence against women, girls – Leilua

The 2018 International Children’s Peace Prize award finalist, Leilua Lino, has appealed to members of the community to condemn violence against women and girls. 

Speaking as a member of the Sisters of Hope – under the auspices of the Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.) and the Positive Movement campaign – the 18-year-old girl made the appeal during a recent advocacy programme activity that targeted schools and churches. 

“The purpose of this programme is to provide assistance for those that face any struggles in life, whether it is in families or schools, by encouraging them to speak up and share their struggles.

“It is an opportunity for whoever wants to speak out and share what they are going through, and in some cases, victims often fear speaking out.

“An example would be parents stopping their children from speaking or wives having fear against their husbands – in cases of domestic violence,” she said.

Miss Lino said she hopes to create a platform – which will enable the voices of those not being heard – to have the courage to stand up against any form of violence or whatever they are facing. 

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“At first I was nervous and shy to stand in front of people, but later on I found the strength to face people, and deliver the message of hope.

“I want people to know that there is help available and that someone out there can help them if they choose to fight for justice and peace.

“If people keep the pain hidden it can affect them mentally and spiritually,” she told Samoa Observer in an interview.

Children should also put education as a priority in their lives, Miss Lino added. 

“Parents should prioritise education because it is the key to a successful future for their children, and nowadays you need to have a good educational background to attain a job.

“But there are other cases where everyone has a unique talent, whether in sports or handicrafts making, which can also help provide for their families.

“Children should never think so lowly of themselves, everyone has the potential to become someone greater in the future, so choose wisely,” she added. 

Miss Lino also said that she strongly supports the campaign as in the past and acknowledged the support of the S.V.S.G. in helping her overcome various obstacles.

“I want the same help for others that have no hope,” she added.

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