Brown Girl Woke supports measles families

Not-for-profit group Brown Girl Woke (B.G.W.) is putting in place a system to support families impacted by the measles epidemic over six months, especially those who lost loved ones.

The group’s founder, U.S.-based, Maluseu Doris Tulifau, said in an interview with the Samoa Observer that they have 10 locations for their donation drive in the United States, which will all be shipped to Samoa.

She said their work assisting families affected by the measles outbreak also offered the group’s members the opportunity to lead and undertake volunteer and community work.

"The Brown Girl Woke's platform in university is to bring together young leaders to prepare them for the future by understanding how to lead, volunteering, community work and service projects,” she said.

"There are 30 or at least 35 students from the University of the South Pacific and 10 to 15 students have come on board. Every year we offer two scholarships for these students but this year we will be offering them five scholarships"

Local students from Samoa have also joined the group comprising three from the U.S.P. and two from the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.). Students Vaimoli Tapelu and Chrioni Posini are from the N.U.S. while Krista Lee, Victory Tuala Tamalelagi and Lino Williams are from the U.S.P.

They will leave for Savai’i next week and be part of the group to distribute goods to families affected by measles. 

Maluseu said they are working with medical student Mathew Amituanai to assist in the distribution of goods to clinics, hospitals, private doctor facilities as well as non-government organisations.

She said she will travel to American Samoa on Thursday to ensure their five pallets of donations are on the boat to Apia, and they expect to get more donations from America until next month.

Families who lost loved ones to measles will be particularly targeted in this exercise, according to Maluseu. 

"Our main reason for more donations is so that we can have a system that helps families a little longer, especially those that have lost loved ones to measles,” she said.

“For example, the father that passed away who has seven children, we are helping them by donating food baskets for the next six months.”

A Vaiusu family who lost two babies to the virus last year will also be assisted under the program and will be provided with baby formula and diapers for the next six months. 

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