Life changing experience for child vendors

It was a new day and a new beginning for five child vendors who are now attending school for the first time in their lives, thanks to the generosity of their sponsors.

At the Vaigaga Primary School, three children ages 7; and two children ages 8 and 9 became part of the Year 3 and Year 4 classes respectively, as they eagerly anticipated their lives as children in a classroom.  

From the school Principal’s perspective, the children have been allocated to their classes according to their ages to avoid any awkwardness if they are placed in Year 1, given that they have never been to school before.  

The school however, will pay close attention to their academic needs as they slowly go through their learning experience.

According to the S.V.S.G. Junior Vice President Franziska Sione, who coordinated the enrolment and the children’s first day at school, “there was an excitement amongst the children as they held hands going into their classrooms.  At one time, one of our young scholarship recipients cried for her mother and the other 2 in the same class with her both started to cry.”

The five out of twelve children were identified in the outcome assessment of the Buddy Up Program implemented by Samoa Victim Support Group with funding support from the International Labour Organisation in January this year. The Program targeted child vendors buddying up with youth members of the S.V.S.G. Juniors, in an effort to get the child vendors out of the streets and back to school.  

Thirty child vendors partnered up with youths during the Program.

While Faustina Aperaamo earlier secured a scholarship courtesy of Eli and Wyndi Tagi of New Zealand and is now attending Vaigaga Primary School, the two of the additional scholars have their education sponsored by the TACT of New Zealand thanks to the generosity of Levaoatuamaaana Aati-Schuster and her Team.  The other three scholars have been sponsored by an anonymous local donor.

There are six more children eligible for primary education still awaiting sponsorship to be enrolled in school.  

If you would like to make a difference in the lives of these children, please call S.V.S.G. on telephone 25392 or email [email protected] for more information.  The scholarship covers obtaining birth certificates for enrolment, school fees and uniforms for each child per year.

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By Hyunsook Siutaia 30/09/2020
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