Year 8 students respond to help vulnerable families

By Marc Membrere 08 December 2020, 9:30PM

Robert Louis Stevenson School’s Year 8 students have donated food, children’s clothing, toys and books for vulnerable families this festive season.

The items were passed on to Apia Shapers and Brown Girl Woke (B.G.W.), who are working this festive season to bring a smile to children in hospitals as well as affected families.

A media release issued by Apia Shapers on Monday stated that public donations are open to individuals, families and corporate sponsors in Samoa.

On Monday, teachers and class representatives of the Robert Louis Stevenson School’s Year 8 class responded to the call by delivering the first Christmas donations from a local high school to the O.S.M. head office at Lotopa.

During the presentation ceremony on Monday, the project co-leaders for the Unbox-Christmas Hampers Drive, B.G.W founder, Maluseu Doris Tulifau and Apia Shapers founding curator, Olisana Mariner, thanked the Year 8 class for their contribution to their annual Christmas gift drive.

Maluseu stated that there are a lot of families who need extra help, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic which led to the loss of a large number of jobs.

“The donation that you have brought today is going to help families in kua and other people who need extra help this Christmas [...] You are all at a young age, so this is the perfect time for you to practice generosity and understand what needs to be done for our community,” she said.

The Unbox-Christmas Hampers Drive is the first time that Apia Shapers and B.G.W are collaborating. 

The partnership is a fusion of two existing projects by each organisation, in an effort to work collaboratively on existing goals and maximise community impact to reach those in need, before Christmas.

The B.G.W ‘Christmas Hampers Initiative’ is in its third year of operation and aims to give essential groceries and care packages in the form of Christmas hampers to vulnerable families.

While visiting vulnerable families across Samoa, Maluseu said: “This initiative started because we realised that a lot of families didn’t have food to take care of their children; families who had more than five children in a very small home.”

“We wanted to make hampers for these families to bring the festive spirit and hope back into Samoan homes for Christmas.”

Furthermore, Ms. Mariner explained that it is exciting to collaborate with Maluseu and her team at the B.G.W and described their outreach as inspiring. 

“I’ve been following their journey over the years and it has been inspiring to see their impact at a grassroots level,” she said.

“Both Doris and I work in youth-led and youth-run organisations with mission statements that exemplify the phrase ‘think global and act local’. 

“Bringing together our annual Christmas drives and working towards similar goals is the best way to bring help to those who need it this festive season. 

“Our partnership reminds me that mutual collaboration will achieve much more than any one person could do alone.”

In a response to the Samoa Observer, Year 8 teacher, Muagututia Vaigafa Edward revealed that they donated packaged food, children’s clothings, toys and books.

She said every student was encouraged to donate what they could and what they thought the families would need.

“It took us two weeks to put everything together just in time to kick start our End of Year Class Activities,” she said.

“The senior students of our school give annually to other organisations such as Mapuifagalele and Loto Taumafai and it inspired my students to do the same. 

“A lot of them showed great interest in giving a donation of their own. We chose B.G.W. because we wanted to contribute to their Christmas drive, in order to help children their age and spread good cheer to those less fortunate.

“Mr. Ierome and I have always tried our best to encourage our students to give generously in order to help others. In this season of giving, we pray that this initiative has ignited a light in them to continue to help their communities in any way they can.”

By Marc Membrere 08 December 2020, 9:30PM

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