Requests for welfare help surge since coronavirus

More than 3,000 people have received welfare assistance from the Samoa Victims Support Group (S.V.S.G.), as the Group says calls for help have risen significantly with the impact of the coronavirus. 

From January to April 2020, 90 per cent of those seeking assistance were mothers, according to a statement from S.V.S.G.

The S.V.S.G. said during the last six weeks, since the Government declared a state of emergency for the coronavirus and accompanying restrictions, 85 per cent of the callers to their HelpLine were mothers.

The charity attributes the surge in demand to the impact of the coronavirus state of emergency measures and the massive downturn in the tourism industry which has led to more than 1,000 people losing their jobs.

The Group, which also targets gender-based violence provides services for women, children and vulnerable groups affected by home-based violence in the context of the coronavirus.

Callers report mental and physical abuse; seeking welfare assistance for their families; and even advocating for employment for their husbands or counselling assistance.

The Group said connecting Samoan people in need with its frontline services were provided via its HelpLine at the national level. Social media plays a more important role to secure supporters. 

The Group has also established a virtual connection that allows people in need to connect with village representatives who have volunteered to attend to any cases that come through the HelpLine from the rural areas of Upolu, Savaii or Manono-tai. 

The virtual connection, which allows people in need to reach out via social media, and e-mail was started on 21 March 2020.

S.V.S.G. acknowledged their partnerships with other organisations especially its donor partners that have enabled them with support.

S.V.S.G. President, Siliniu Lina Chang, thanked their donors; she said that without their support they would not be able to provide relief packages for families severely impacted by the financial strains of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is our prayer that the Lord Almighty will bless you and your families in abundance for your generosity.  Together, we have been stronger,” she said.

Donors to the Group include: European Union, United Nations Spotlight Initiative under the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Children's Fund (U.N.I.C.E.F.) Pacific, Samoa Stationery and Books, Alofa Charitable Trust, Helping Hands, Samoan family in Melbourne Australia.



Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?