Samoan writer wins regional competition

A young Samoan, Helava Muliaina, is the winner of the children's poem category in the 'Reimagining Pacific Futures' art competition.

The competition called on young people across the Pacific to submit art/digital art and poems on the theme of 'Climate Change and Human Rights.’

This is organised by a Pacific Youth Advocacy Group known as ‘Pacific Island Students Fighting Climate Change’ (P.I.S.F.C.C.).

Ms. Muliaina wrote a poem titled: “Just Because.”

In her poem she addresses her readers by saying that just because she is young, a woman, a Pacific islander and is not attending a United Nations meeting does not mean she does not know to fight for what’s right.

“Climate justice is the least I ask of you,” she wrote in her poem.

Another Samoan that took part in the art category was Faith Muliaina.

The art competition was an opportunity for Pacific children and youths to participate in climate activism. 

The initiative aimed to bring children and youth voices to the 51st Pacific Island Forum in Vanuatu in August to share their views with leaders, civil society organizations and the general public. 

The judges based their decision on the following criteria: Creative expression of the themes; originality of the idea; originality in representing children and youth rights.

The eligibility category for the competition was open to all citizens from member countries: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

The age category for children is from 5-17 while youth is ages 18-29.

The art categories include: art - Painting, drawing, poetry and song, placard, photo; digital Art – videos.

Prizes will include electronics, art sets, and premium editing software, school accessories and online course subscriptions.

The President of the Pacific Island Students Fighting Climate Change, Sulia Makasini stated that climate change is a threat to our Pacific community and we must take bold action to protect our people and our environment.

“A warming planet threatens us all and every opportunity we have, we must highlight it and demand that the international community takes action to protect our human rights.”

 Please find a full copy of the poem by Ms. Muliaina below:

 'Just Because' by Heleva Muliaina.

Just because

I am young

I don’t understand

the impacts of your industries

and power plants

on my home.


Just because

I am a woman

I don’t feel

the pain of climate injustice.


Just because

I am a Pacific Islander

I don’t know

the hurt of being

colonized and


all over again.

Just because

I don’t write a long speech

nor attend a UN meeting in New York

I don’t know how

to fight for what’s right.

Climate justice is the

least I ask of you!

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