N.G.Os welcome budget offering

Some of the Non-Government Organisations (N.G.O.s) have thanked the Government for recognising their support services through proposed financial assistance worth $50,000.

The announcement of financial assistance for the vulnerable groups was made by the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, during a parliamentary session on Tuesday. 

“Assistance for our social welfare N.G.O.s who are currently caring for our most vulnerable citizens,” he said.

Sili added that some of the groups include: Mapuifagalele - Home for the Elderly; Samoa Victim Support Group; Goshen Trust; Faataua le Ola; Nuanua o le Alofa; Loto Taumafai; Senese; Divine Mercy Moamoa and others.

“It is the Government’s belief that there are also other organisations providing social welfare services to our citizens and therefore have set aside sufficient funds should these organisations come forward seeking assistance.”

According to Faataua Le Ola’s Executive Director, Papalii Tiumalu Caroline Paul-Ah Chong, she said that the proposed assistance from Government is timely.

“We are humbled and grateful to be recognised by Government, we are excited and happy, and we thank the Prime Minister and Cabinet for considering our organisation for assistance.

“The funding will enhance our delivery service to impact more lives through our outreach programmes for underprivileged especially, stress from loss of jobs can be damaging on anyone.

“We deal with problematic social issues which could lead to suicide and is recognized as a leading organization for suicide awareness and prevention.”

She added that part of their mandate is to provide information, services and support to assist in the prevention of suicide.

“Despite Samoa being COVID-19 free, we have been receiving a lot of calls from the community asking for counselling services because of loss of jobs and struggling financially to care for their families.

Mata'afa Fa'atino Utumapu, General Manager of Nuanua O Le Alofa (N.O.L.A.) told the Samoa Observer that they are gratefully for Government not just by proposing to give their organisation financial support.

“But also through recognising the work of N.O.L.A. not only in COVID-19 response but making sure that persons with disabilities are not left behind in all national developments.

“And making sure they access information, services, facilities, and programmes on an equal basis with others.

“But we feel strongly recognised for the work we do to raise awareness on rights for persons with disabilities and to ensure that opportunities are there and they are able to contribute and participate fully in society.”

She added that it is unrealistic to suggest where the proposed funding will be allocated for because they do not its value. 

“Even though we have funding to support activities for persons with disabilities but it is far too limited so the financial support from Government will slowly be used to ensure our advocacy work reaches out to those who are in need because that is the mandate of the organisation.

“Despite Samoa being COVID-19 free, we have a response plan and at the moment, and it is the priority of the organisation and some of the works that we are doing include and not limited to making sure that government programmes, information and services relating to COVID-19 include persons with disabilities.

“For instance we are working with the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet to make sure that the information that is currently going out to the public is interpreted in sign language. According to data, there are 12,000 persons with disabilities in Samoa.”

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