Old Alofi-o-Taoa College students give back
Staff and students at the Alofi-o-Taoa College in Fatuvalu, Savai’i are celebrating the opening of a new canteen ahead of the new school year.
The new facility was the result of a fundraising initiative led by former students of the college, Alofi-o-Taoa ex-Students Association (A.T.E.X.S.A.).
And they provided the school's students with much-needed and healthier new facilities the school's Principal, Fepulea'i Lene Selulo, said.
"During my first year as a Principal for the school, I found out that there were reports and recommendations from the Ministry of Health, suggesting that the school must build a proper shelter or a canteen for the students," Fepulea'i said.
"Over the years, the people providing the service of selling food for our students use the shade from the trees or their vehicles to sell food.
"This was consider not healthy for the students, according to the recommendations from [the Ministry of Health]"
Therefore, when the association for former students of the school was established on November 24, 2018, the issue was raised by the college's Principal, who is also the Vice President of A.T.E.X.S.A.
"The reason why the Association was established was so we can gather all the former students of the college to come together and raise funds that would help develop and assist the school with materials they need to improve the learning environment for the students," Fepulea'i said.
"We only started with just 25 members and during our first few meetings, we decided that we would prioritise this project, for the students.
"We all decided that building a proper canteen for the students to use was going to be our first project.
"So we started doing fundraising to get money for our project. We did not want to ask other organisations for assistance because we wanted it to be a project that is funded by the members of the association.
"We started off with a total amount of just $14,837, on [5 October] this year."
One of the many struggles they faced throughout the implementation of the project were finances, Fepulea'i said.
However, the school Principal says he was grateful for the support and generosity of the community and politicians who donated to help the project reach its completion.
"The total cost of the whole project is $30,000 mostly from our pockets and fundraising," he said.
"Even though we are small in numbers, and we are a new Association, we were still able to pull through with this project.
"That is something we are grateful for and we are happy that our students will be able to enjoy and make good use of this project once school opens again next year.
"We give thanks to our Heavenly Father for his guidance and protection upon us."