N.G.O.s and business team up for disability help
Advocacy groups, Nuanua o le Alofa (N.O.L.A) and Brown Girl Woke (B.G.W.), have been conducting community outreach programmes for people with disabilities in Savai’i.
N.O.L.A discovered last week a Savai'i family looking after a person with a disability who was in urgent need of help.
The family was referred to B.G.W. who then looked for a sponsor to provide the family with supplies of a year’s worth of incontinence products.
The founder of B.G.W, Maluseu Doris Tofilau, personally travelled to Savai'i to meet the family and tell them the good news.
"My organisation helps find sponsors for families," Maluseu told Samoa Observer.
"N.O.L.A is our partner (and) we help each other. We already have a sponsor, but they want to be anonymous; it's a local business."
According to Maselau, she has sought out local businesses willing to sponsor individual families for a year, since the passing of the measles outbreak and the beginning of the coronavirus-led economic downturn.
To date the project has two local business backers and six overseas families sponsoring their work.
"I’ve been blessed to work alongside N.O.L.A. with this project as they refer members that need a lot of assistance,” she said.
“[These aren’t] the first the partners [who] have reached out to [provide assistance to] the most vulnerable families in Savai'i.
"N.O.L.A. just refers us to the most vulnerable families that need a lot of assistance and I have the sponsors, we go meet the family and tell them what we do.
"This particular sponsor has offered to sponsor adult diapers for the rest of the year.”
At a cost of $55 a packet, the sanitary products are not cheap and pose a significant burden on the family’s finances.
Maluseu said meeting the family went well, and their help was appreciated; she kept the information about the recipients undisclosed in order to respect their privacy.
"It went amazing, I'm a very busy person so I usually can't make the trip, but this was different,” she said.
"Because the sponsors can't meet the family, I wanted to go and it's a good reminder for myself why I do this work.
"The family was so grateful we came with 2 more bundles of diapers, boxes of wipes and dozen towels for her.
"We sent over 2 packs of diapers a few weeks ago and she didn’t realize it was us that sent it over from Upolu
"We also told her that we will be taking care of the diapers for the rest of the year and she was so excited because it’s been hard when she doesn’t get the extra help."
Lastly, Maselau wanted to thank N.O.L.A. for all the hard work they have been doing during three weeks of “on the ground” work in Savai’i
"This story [...] can plant the seed to our local businesses to help with sponsoring families with adult diapers, formula for babies, diapers for babies,” she said.
“We have to learn that the smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intentions.”