College hosts 16 days of Activism concert
Activist group Brown Girl Woke (B.G.W) kick-started Samoa's participation in the global anti-gender violence 16 Days of Activism campaign on Friday with an event at Papauta College.
The event consisted of singing and dancing and was attended by members of B.G.W, staff, and students of Papauta Girls College, and members of the Congregation Christian Church Samoa (C.C.C.S).
The group hopes events such as these will spread awareness of the United Nations-backed campaign to put an end to violence against women, in Samoa and globally.
In a response to Samoa Observer queries on Sunday, the Founder of B.G.W Maluseu Doris Tulifau explained that the organisation recruits, trains and educates young leaders to run after-school programs to empower and aspire girls to understand critical issues happening in the community.
“Our music and dance program for the last three years has always dedicated this term to prepare the finale for 16 days of activism,” Maluseu said.
“We make sure for 4 months we educate young girls on resources we have in Samoa that deal with ending violence. Also, have workshops using music and dance to speak about these taboo issues and how to find help and solutions.”
She said that events like this help by spreading awareness and prevention.
“We understand Samoa doesn’t have enough resources and that’s why we need to start the conversation with youth and help that understand before they go into relationships what are the red flags of [domestic violence] and sexual abuse,” the activist said.
“Who can I turn to, what are the programs they can go to? This is time we help teach and educate if their not learning at home
“Papauta college is an all girl school where a lot of these girls might be faletua and will counsel our youth.
“We purposely choose this school because we know this.
“Imagine when they do have their own church and to be educated at a school that is not only religious but teaches social justice issues for girls.”
Maluseu said that, in Samoa, the most recent statistics tell us that almost 70 percent of women have experienced physical violence, and one in five women have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime.
“This comes at a significant cost not just to the women concerned but to their families, their communities, and to the country as a whole,” she said.
“Gender-based violence in schools is a major barrier to children accessing their right to education. As we know, accessing quality education empowers women and promotes better health and livelihoods for them and for their children.. The benefits of educating girls, therefore, have a positive ripple effect on families and societies.
“[As] the old African proverb says: ‘If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a [nation]’.”
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