American Samoa chips in $350,000 to Manu campaign

A total of $350,000 tala was raised in support of Manu Samoa's World Cup campaign from a telethon/radiothon held in American Samoa on Friday. 

The “Ua Le Ma Le Mativa” (poverty knows no shame) fundraiser had its largest contribution from the American Samoa Government, which donated $250,000. 

“There are no words to express how thankful we are to the government and their support; it was overwhelming for the Samoa Rugby Union for the Governor and Lt. Governor to support the Prime Minister’s bid for assistance," said the Samoa Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i.

“And I think having Prime Minister [Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi] present was immensely helpful [for] the World Cup campaign,” 

He said the Manu Samoa have a lot of supporters in the U.S. territory, including in high places. 

“The Governor and Lt. Governor were instrumental in the fundraising [and] their Cabinet followed suit,” said Falemavaega. 

The donation by the American Samoa Government left some residents of the territory unhappy; they pointed out their government donated only $20,000 to the American Samoa National Olympic Committee athletes attending the XVI Pacific Games.

According to Talanei News, the Governor had a Manu Samoa wheelbarrow which made two rounds of a cabinet meeting soliciting donations. The first round netted $6,615 tala; the second, the Governor’s office announced, netted another more than $2,500 tala. 

Tuilaepa was also presented with traditional gifts, including $12,250 tala and 200 cases of wahoo for the Samoa delegation.

Governor Lolo was reportedly happy when pointing out the Samoa government has always responded to the territory’s requests. 

“For example when American Samoa asked for help in air transportation to Manu’a and now Samoa Airways flies daily to Manu’a," he said. 

The first donation to the fundraising drive was by Reverend Elder Ioane Evagelia who gave the opening prayer for the telethon/radiothon: he donated $2,500 tala.

The biggest private donation was $10,000 from Nana’s Company. Late on Friday the telethon/radiothon had brought in a total of $352,000 local media reported. 

First Lady Cynthia Malala Moliga presented the collected money to Minister of Communication and information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupai.

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