Church, village leaders urged to assist families

Samoans are driving themselves into poverty when they succumb to pressure to financially contribute to fa'alavelave, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi says.

Speaking on the 2AP programme last week while discussing the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on families in Samoa, Tuilaepa said family hardships currently being experienced during the pandemic is due to pride.

“There is no abject poverty in Samoa. The truth is Samoa is a blessed country but we’re facing poverty because of our own pride in overdoing these fa'alavelave,” he said on the program.

“It’s either for church or village organisations but it’s really important to consider these things.

“I have not once seen leaders of churches stepping up to oversee this issue but they’re the ones preaching the word of God.”

The Prime Minister urged church and village leaders to intervene in order to cushion the effects for families.

“They are not performing to do something about this to make life easier for the families like what the Government has done.

“Even with things that our government shouldn’t be touching like reducing the size and price of a box of herrings, we’ve done so because of our enthusiasm [for affordable living].”

Families in rural areas are the main ones affected, claimed Tuilaepa.

With faalavelave which can cost families thousands to spend, Tuilaepa metaphorically used that as an example in terms of contribution, and said a $1,000 contribution is sufficient instead of $100,000.

Almost every week, the Prime Minister said he gets approached by people pleading for financial assistance.

“This is why the Government is trying to lessen the practice of these things and that’s why the state of emergency orders are really important,” the Prime Minister said.

Tuilaepa further reiterated his belief that financial pressure is a major cause of domestic violence within families.

“Especially in cases where families earn very little and they have to spend on their loans and children’s education and leave no money for the father’s bottle of the evening and end up committing domestic violence.

“I know that’s one reason where domestic violence drives in most families.”

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