Chinese Embassy makes donation to Vailima village

The Chinese Embassy presented sewing machines and agricultural tools on Monday to Vailima village and urged local youth to apply for Chinese Government-funded scholarships.

Local M.P. and Minister of Works Transport and Infrastructure, Papali'i Niko Lee Hang, witnessed the presentation by the Embassy at the Vailima Primary School Hall on Monday.

China’s Ambassador to Samoa, Chao Xiaoliang, said it is their hope that the donated equipment will contribute to the overall development of the village. 

"The Embassy compound is located in the village of Vailima and we deem ourselves as part of the community,” he said.

“It is our sincere wish that the sewing machines and agricultural machinery donated could contribute to the overall prosperity and development of the village.”

Chinese Government-funded scholarships to China are also available to Samoans, according to the Ambassador, who added that he hoped the youth in Vailima will capitalise on the opportunity.

"The young generation is the hope of our future. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese Government has provided 26 scholarship opportunities for Samoan students to undertake various undergraduate study programs in China this year,” he said.

"Hope the youth from Vailima and other villages could seize the opportunity and pursue a degree in China, playing a role in further strengthening the mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of China and Samoa."

Vailima Paramount Chief, Sooialo Lemigao Sooialo, acknowledged China for their continuous support which he said continues to benefit the village.

"This is a donation from the Chinese Embassy and the Government of China. We had requested them for assistance in the previous year to help with the development of the village," he said.

"The Embassy has kindly fulfilled our needs and has blessed us with sewing machines and chainsaws and this will greatly help with the many village activities and just for improving the well-being of everyone in the village."

Sooialo said the donated tools will not be distributed to the families, but instead be stored at the home of the local MP and be available for use after the payment of a small fee.

He added that the small fee is a way to generate some money for the village.

"This small money will not only help with the village developments but also will go towards fixing up the equipment should the need arise," he added.

Vailima village initially requested assistance from the Embassy in October last year and the donation on Monday was not the first to the village. 

"This isn’t the first time they (Chinese Embassy) have assisted us. The first time they had donated chairs, tables and a sound system for village activities," Sooialo said.

"The Chinese Embassy has helped us greatly and we’re very good neighbours as well and we don’t really have to go through Foreign Affairs because they’re right next door to us.

"We have also requested the Chinese Embassy for scholarship opportunities for the kids and youth."

Sooialo revealed that the donation was valued at $50,000 tala and would be utilised carefully by the village.

"The sewing machines will also be kept there as well because we’re nearing the end of the year and hopefully next year we can have a sewing school here in the village for the girls and women of Vailima.

Speaking as the M.P. of the constituency, Papalii further added that the assistance from China targets the development of communities and he hopes that other villages in his constituency would also receive similar assistance. 

"Vailima requested for assistance and the embassy has responded, hence the donation but these cannot cater for the whole constituency and so hopefully we can do the same for other villages in our constituency when all is done here in Vailima," Papalii told the Samoa Observer.

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