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New Zealand helps ease Campus of Hope burden

Victims of violence at the Campus of Hope are receiving $18,300 worth of supplies and support from the people of New Zealand this week, as demand for services ramps up amid the pandemic lockdown. 

New Zealand High Commissioner, Trevor Matheson presented Samoa Victims Support Group (S.V.S.G.) with the supplies, mostly non-perishable food, this week, to help the small organisation care for its growing home of survivors.

Around 100 women and children live at the Tuanaimato Campus of Hope, escaping their own families’ physical and often sexual abuse. 

S.V.S.G. President Siliniu Lina Chang said the donation was a proactive approach by the High Commission to help vulnerable people during these challenging times.

In the three months Samoa has been under a state of emergency, much of which has been under strict lockdown conditions, domestic violence rates have shot up.

Families have lost their sources of income, and are cooped up at home together with school cancelled until recently and workers forced to stay home.

As well as handling domestic violence interventions, S.V.S.G. has had to put its limited resources to distributing food and material supplies to households that simply can’t afford them by themselves.

In early May, the Samoa Observer reported that SVSG referred 46 domestic violence cases to police, and 415 families had requested some form of help through their helpline, social media page, or walking into their offices. 

Some of the New Zealand donation is also geared towards helping the organisation deliver supplies and support services to families across Samoa. 

The wider community has stepped up to help the group. As well as the New Zealand High Commission, this month Fletcher Construction Company donated over 800 books for the beginnings of a library for the campus, collected by 13-year-old Epi Tusani from New Zealand.

And in April, the ANZ Apia branch donated T$25,000 to the group. 

Women and children can access S.V.S.G. help via the 24-hour helpline, at 800-7874.

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