Literacy programme for street vendors launches
An eight-week programme dedicated to improving the education of Samoa’s young street vendors began this week at Taumeasina Island Resort.
The initiative is a collaboration between resort staff and management and the students and faculty at Vaiala Beach School.
A group of street vendors are collected from the streets of Apia every Tuesday and brought to the resort to be taught reading, role-play stories and share their experiences in a classroom setting with the teachers at Vaiala Beach.
The General Manager of the resort, Tuiataga Nathan Bucknall, approached the Vaiala Beach headmistress, Lorraine Williams, after he saw street vendor children taking shelter from the rain last week while driving through town.
“I just thought that it would be nice, especially given what is going on with unemployment and the hardships of the pandemic, to be able to give something back to these kids,” Tuiataga said
“Originally my idea was to bring them to the resort and give them some food and a break from the streets where they hang out.
“But after talking with Ms. Lorraine Williams from the school, we came up with a programme to promote literacy or the desire to learn to read, or attend school, for these young kids”.
The children will be provided with afternoon refreshments each week and dropped off at their pick-up spot with some takeaway food from the resort which they can share with family members.
Vaiala Beach School’s headmistress, Ms. Williams, says she is excited about the collaboration with the resort and will look to continuously improve the results from their sessions.
“We are excited and committed to supporting this initiative and our students were really enthusiastic after the first session and are thinking of ways to make the next session even better,” she said
Taumeasina Island Resort staff met with children participating in the programme last week and sent home consent forms to ensure that all vendors’ parents were aware of their children’s participation.
The major shareholder of Taumeasina Island Resort and also the owner of Lamana Development, who built the resort which opened in 2016, Sir Kostas Constantinou, supports the programme as a means of giving back to the community.
“This is a great initiative to promote literacy [for] those who do not have direct access to education, for whatever reason, and I fully support programs such as these across the South Pacific,” he said.
“It is always great to give back to the community”.
The resort’s management welcomes anyone interested in joining or supporting the programme.