A Chance to be Great Again – Surviving Sexual Abuse


From a victim of sexual abuse to Chef Assistant

APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 14 JUNE 2018: In 2016, UNICEF Pacific Child Protection Samoa Human Interest Stories featured one of the successfully reintegrated residents from the Campus of Hope.

Ruta, 19, has found her passion in cooking and transforms from a shy and reserved teenager into an extroverted confident trainee chef as soon as she enters the kitchen © UNICEF Pacific/2016/Mepham

Ruta, 19 years old, is dressed in her chef’s uniform and speaks with intense pride about being the only female graduate of her culinary training course, which she participated in via SVSG’s youth employment programme.

Ruta came to the SVSG aged 16 after being sexually abused and violently threatened.  These intense experiences shattered Ruta’s confidence, sense of identity and her ability to trust. In finding her passion for cooking however, Ruta has been able to regain these lost abilities and begin to rebuild her self-belief.  She says, “I have never returned to my home but I am stronger now and I have found support through my new colleagues who feel like family.” 

Fastforward to 2018, Fatima no longer hides behind a mask, nor Ruta as an alias.

Fatima has had her life restored to that of a strong individual. She continues to work as a Chef Assistant at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel.  In her days off, she volunteers at the Campus of Hope, feeding the babies, cooking for the older children, while encouraging them through her story.  It is her way of giving back to the place which rebuilt her self-belief.

Fatima with Justice Vui Clarence Nelson, Advisor for SVSG’s work with the children

And in acknowledgement of the fatherly support from Justice Vui Clarence Nelson, the Advisor for SVSG’s work with the children.

Fatima visited Justice Vui at his office, and sought his advise with her plans to further her studies in culinary training, after successfully completing Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at the APTC in 2017. With Justice Vui’s blessings, Fatima is now out to empower herself further through studies.  The sky is the limit as our proud survivor took to her chances of being great again.

Fatima thanked all the supporters, friends and SVSG family for feeding, clothing, sheltering and protecting her with love while at the Campus that offered her so much hope.

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