Youth programmes empower students
Activist group Brown Girl Woke (B.G.W.) says its suite of student-focused programmes will empower the next generation of Samoans.
The not-for-profit organisation says participating youth are given the opportunity to qualify for scholarship programmes to further their education as well as develop their skills and knowledge for the benefit of their communities and future.
The President of B.G.W. at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) and University of South Pacific (U.S.P.) Alafua Campus, Lino Williams, told the Samoa Observer they visit schools such as Pesega College and Mulivai Safata Primary School to run student-focused workshops.
"We have been going around to some schools like Pesega College and Mulivai Safata Primary to give them small workshops, for them to have ideas of what they want to become when they are older," he said.
"During the measles epidemic we gave out some gifts to families that had lost loved ones to the sickness. I am now working with Doris (B.G.W. founder Doris Tulifau) and fellow members of the B.G.W. group to give out food supplies and other stuff needed by families that will help them for six months and we are starting on Wednesday at St. Peter Chanel Primary School."
Ms Tulifau said the inspiration behind her setting up the scholarship program was her own experience in college.
She had to do 1,000 hours of volunteering for a community project, in order to qualify for a $1000 payment for her tuition fee.
"Brown Girl Woke scholarships started because when I was in College, I was in a program that paid for $1000 of my tuition for the year, but I had to do 1000 hours of volunteering in service projects for the community, that's when I wanted to implement the same type of program here at both N.U.S. and U.S.P.,” she said.
“To be eligible for the scholarship, you have to be part of the B.G.W. group for at least one semester and have a good academic standing. We started in 2018 and it has been amazing seeing the students who have received the scholarship and how they became leaders of our B.G.W. movement.”
A recipient of the B.G.W. scholarship, Vaimoli Tapelu of Fagamalo, said she received the scholarship because she joined the program in order to share her knowledge and skills with children.
"I received this scholarship because I joined the program to share my knowledge and skills with kids. We have an after-school program where we teach the kids and encourage them to develop their skills and talents for their future,” she said.
"I want to thank B.G.W. for the great opportunity that I have to share my talent with the young generations of Samoa. I would also like to thank them for the scholarship that has helped me and my family so much.
“I would also like to advise the public to never look down on themselves, because now is the time to build ourselves up and experience different things around us. Believe in yourself but not others because your future is in your own hands.”
A young Samoan who has been employed by B.G.W. as a dance teacher, Kieren Sigmarigen Ah Sam, told this newspaper that Ms Tulifau advised him on how he could use his talent.
"I would firstly like to give thanks to God for the talent that he gave me. Teaching dance is a thing that I have dreamed of when I first danced at siva afi,” he revealed. "I realised that I was good at dancing so I started teaching dancing at church. When I met Doris she gave me a great idea on how to use my talent. That is when I joined B.G.W. so I can teach kids how to dance.”
In a parting advice to those who also love dancing, he urged them not to give up the talent that God gave them and to use it for future good.