24 Samoan homes built under the US Humanitarian Experience For Youth Program

The young people assisting the building one of the homes in Samoa under the HEFY program

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 23 JULY 2018: Twenty four Samoan families have had their houses built under the American based Humanitarian Experience For Youths (HEFY) program, and more families are expected to benefit in the coming years.

This was confirmed by the local coordinator for the program Bishop Molesi Levaavaoga.

Bishop Molesi and a woman colleague were introduced to the program when they served as Latter Days Saints missionaries in America and requested Samoa to be placed under the programme. Since 2015, HEFY has funded and built 24 houses in Samoa.

A team of young people from HEFY are currently in Samoa building 5 family homes funded by HEFY.

“The costs of these houses are at $19,000 including all the materials,” said Bishop Molesi.

Since the beginning of the program in Samoa in 2015, Bishop Molesi led a team that selected families, and has since handed over that role to leaders and Bishops of all LDS parishes.

The program includes any family in need of support and not just members of the LDS church.

HEFY was an initiative of an American billionaire whose only son after graduating from college wanted an expensive car and materials things from his father. However his father took his son to South America to experience life there.

According to Bishop Molesi, it was that experience that changed the boys’ perspective on life and started to volunteer on certain areas. From that experience, the boy and his father started travelling to various countries offering the HEFY voluntary program.

The program expanded in 73 countries and more young people joined in, and a new name Humanitarian Experience For Youths was born in 2004. Unfortunately, the billionaires’ son died of cancer in 2008 and the program continued and has reached more countries around the world.

“Seventy five percent of the program is funded by fundraising and donations and 25% is funded by the millionaire,” said Bishop Molesi.

The program will expand in Samoa next year.