Leifiifi College students represent Samoa in Japan

Five students from Leifiifi College represented Samoa last month at the High School Students Summit in the Japanese city of Hokkaido.

The summit coincided with the celebrations of the World Tsunami Awareness Day with each one of them giving a five-minute presentation on behalf of their college and the country.

Japan’s Ambassador to Samoa, Maugaoleatuolo Shinyg Aoki, said the participation of the students was facilitated and coordinated by the Hokkaido government in Japan and it is the third time for a local educational institution to participate.

“So we contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Samoa) to select a college to take part in the program,” he said in a press conference. 

“Because Japan has been affected by lots of natural disasters like tsunami, which are very serious and we should share with other people who want to protect their people.”

The Leifiifi College principal, Malaea Lauano, said the other colleges in Samoa that have participated include the Aleipata and St Mary’s colleges. 

Public awareness on natural disasters such as tsunamis is serious business for the Japanese, which Mrs. Lauano said they found out when they got to Hokkaido.

"What we are doing here in Samoa is almost the same as Japan, like the sea walls and we are on the right track but slowly getting there," she added. 

The High School Students Summit had student representatives from 44 countries, who did presentations on different disaster-related topics. 

“This is the topic they pick and we worked together with other schools from Australia, China, Japan and high schools from other countries,” Mrs. Lauano added. 

The Samoan students’ presentation was based on the topic “ignorance and carelessness is costly” and they discussed the deadly 2009 tsunami in Samoa and its impact 10 years later. As part of their preparations for their Hokkaido presentation, the five students carried out a survey at Leifiifi to determine how many knew about the 2009 tsunami. The feedback showed that most of them knew about the disaster from families, schools, media and social media. 

“We asked them what source they receive their information from and they said families, schools and media but mostly were from social media,” she said.

Another point that was emphasised in the students’ presentation was that the 2009 tsunami had an impact on the economy and the environment. 

 Another great point given by the students was the cost that Samoa had from the 2009 which were the economic affect and environment affect. 

The five students who travelled to Japan last month representing the Leififi College were: Gogouli Uli of Poutasi Sinamoga (Year 13), Daniel To'alua of Siusega (Year 13), East Imor Viliamu of Saoluafata (Year 13) and Douglas Pamata of Lepa and Lotofaga (Year 13) and Marieta Tupai of Asau and Si'usega.

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