N.O.L.A youth president's optimistic future
Nuanua o le Alofa (N.O.L.A) Youth President Tusiga Taofiga is hopeful that the recently convened national youth forum for persons with disabilities will improve their lives.
The N.O.L.A Youth President, who is also a Pacific Youth Committee for Persons with Disabilities Board Member, told the Samoa Observer in a telephone interview on Saturday that the numbers at the conference confirmed the importance of the work being done by their organisation to champion their rights.
The national youth forum was held from 17–18 June at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel where the N.O.L.A youth had discussions revolving around the conference’s theme "my life, my decisions, my future".
The objectives of the forum were to increase opportunities for the social inclusion of persons with disabilities as well as provide a platform for youth with disabilities to share their successes and identify their needs.
The forum focused on youth where they discussed various issues in education, health and equal opportunities in terms of looking for jobs.
The original numbers of the N.O.L.A youth upon its establishment was 15 but it was revealed at the launch of the forum that the number of members have now reached 244.
Concluding last Friday, Mr Taofiga said that the hope is not only for persons with disabilities to get equal opportunities in education but also for more to establish their own businesses, He said Samoa Business Hub, Women in Business Development and the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour (M.C.I.L) as well as local firm SkyEye were present to assist participants during the forum.
Mr. Taofiga said that their hope is that from now until the next forum some of the participants will have established a small business and for the number of businesses run by youth living with disabilities to increase.
Recommendations were made during the two-day forum, according to Mr. Taofiga, which the committee will now work on implementing.
Some of the recommendations include working in partnership with all the Government sectors, and for the youth to have programmes in church to assist them in their spiritual life.
Other recommendations include making sure they are prepared for climate change and natural disasters through the participation of the youth in awareness programmes.
In terms of health, the recommendations are for the N.O.L.A to strengthen its partnership with Government Ministries and organisations that prioritise health.
And for a programme for the youth to adapt to the work environment before they become employees was also recommended.
Mr. Taofiga also thanked all participants and the youth for their assistance during the forum while acknowledging the contribution of the N.O.L.A Secretary-General Mataafa Faatino Utumapu and the N.O.L.A Board.