Widow puts hope in finding job for children's benefit

It has been a decade since Alamai Saofatu last had a job and life has become more difficult for her and her children, following the death of her husband. 

She has lived for more than five years with her late husband and children in a broken down shack built at the Tafaigata landfill.

The widow and her children moved to a relative’s home, not far from where they used to live, after the sudden death of her husband last month. The condition of their home deteriorated and Ms Saofatu decided to move, for the safety of her children.

“My children and I would have stayed at our previous home, but it is falling apart and that is not stable for my children to live in, the house might collapse on us,” she said.

The 29-year-old told Samoa Observer that due to her unemployment status, she has to fend for her own children by going through rubbish waste and collecting aluminium waste. 

“Money is one of the necessities in life, without it we struggle greatly but our only hope is to look for aluminium objects amidst the rubbish waste at Tafaigata during the evening when the sun is not too hot,” she added. 

Ms. Saofatu said that once they have collected enough aluminium cans they have to take them to be weighed at the Pacific Recycle Co. Ltd. 

The company pays $0.70 sene for a kilogramme of aluminium waste products, and if the family is lucky, they can make $40 tala in a week from the sales. 

"In all honesty, it is not easy to go through rubbish looking for what you need, after an hour your back will hurt and covered in dirt,” she added.

“I have four children to care for and if I cannot find anything, they cannot survive but thankfully some of our relatives assist us in any way they can.”

The money that the widow and her children make from selling used aluminium is mostly spent on food, especially for the children.

 “We live with our relatives that have more than ten people comprised of mostly children there is always a need for money. My normal chores include waking up, preparing my children to school and then I clean the house, prepare some food," she said.

“My eldest child is turning 10 while the youngest is four-years-old, my late husband was the breadwinner but sadly he is no longer with us.

“I used to work before when I was not married in 2007, I was employed at a coconut cream manufacturing company. I would not ask for assistance, if I had employment to provide for my own children.”

If you are willing to help the family of Ms. Saofatu please contact the number: 7271852.

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