New year's gift for Sapapali'i students
The new school year began with the gift of new classroom furniture for the Sapapali’i preschool in Savai'i.
The newly kitted out classrooms come courtesy of a donation from businesswoman Taulapapa Maria Leota of Fogapoa and Si’usega.
For four years, students at the Savai'i school have taken their lessons while sitting on mats. But this year, they will have the relative luxury of writing on desks for the first time.
A representative from the school, Tamara Ola Esera, said that, since its beginning, the school needed furniture for the students but, due to financial constraints, educational resources had to take priority over furnishings.
Mrs. Esera said the donation will go a long way for the students at Sapapali’i.
“I want to thank Taulapapa and her husband, the Honourable Namulauulu Papali’i Sami Leota, for investing in education of the children, after all they [are the] future of the country," she said.
As an educator, Taulapapa knew that creating a comfortable classroom environment was important for child learning.
This is the not the first time Taulapapa has made donations to schools: Safotulafai Primary School has also received gifts of computers, desks and chairs.
Taulapapa declined to divulge the monetary value of her donations, saying only that investing in the education of Samoa's future leaders was something that could not be priced.
Taulapapa’s husband is Sapapali’i's legislative representative in Parliament. She says his service prompted her to seek out an initiative that would allow her to make her own contribution.
After working as an educator for more than 10 years, Taulapapa sought advice from her Pastor's wife, Mrs. Esera, about the school's most pressing needs.
“My first impression after inspecting their school was that it is was very tidy, well loved and established," she said.
"I knew that if I brought high quality goods in, they would be cherished and well utilised. This motivated me to help them even more.
"So I sourced good quality preschool tables and chairs in bright colors so that the children can sit properly to write and draw and feel more comfortable and happy sitting in bright furniture.
"Investing into our children is investing into our future."