Church partnership vital in ending violence: S.V.S.G. head

A partnership between the church and victims of different forms of abuse is important as part of efforts to end violence in Samoa, says the Samoa Victim Support Group President, Siliniu Lina Chang. 

The SVSG President said this year marks a 10-year partnership between the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.) through the Malua Theological College and the S.V.S.G. run Campus of Hope. 

The campus is home to more than 50 women and children who are victims of various forms of abuse in Samoa. 

A Pastoral Care programme is spearheaded by Malua Theological College students in their third-year of studies with their wives. 

It is a practical programme that assists in preparing the theological students and spouse for work in the church communities after they graduated. 

Each year sees a group of third-year students spending a Sunday with the children survivors of violence and sexual abuse at the Campus of Hope, for a period of four to five weeks.

However, due to the COVID-19 restrictions brought on by the Government's state of emergency (S.O.E.) orders in 2020, the pastoral care programme on the Campus was put on hold.

But this year the programme resumed as usual on Sunday and will continue until early October this year. Two buses with third-year students and their wives converged on the campus.

The children residents were excited as they were divided into three groups allocated to work with the students for the whole afternoon. There was painting and singing, storytelling and reading from the Bible.

The engagement was encouraging for the children and was a reality check for the theological students that violence is real and is a growing concern.  

One only needs to look at the children in the face to see how violence had impacted their young lives. 

It is through this connection that the S.V.S.G. is grateful for the partnership with the church, as it helps with the rehabilitation program for the children survivors of violence, as much as it is helping the theological students and their wives prepare to become church leaders in the community.

Siliniu thanked Reverend Filemoni Crawley for organising the programme.

“Thank you also to the students and their wives for sharing the love with the children, not only through the programme, but also the in kind donation put together for them.” 

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