By Unumoe Esera
APIA: Friday 24 August 2012: The Children’s House of Hope for victims of abuse, put smiles on the faces of the 32 children who will use the facility which was opened at Tuana’imato this morning.
The new shelter was built by the Rotary Club of Surfers Sunrise from Australia and was handed over today to the Samoa Victim Support Group by Project Manager Mr. Des La Rance.
The whole project cost AUD $185,000 this includes the materials and shipping costs from Australia to Samoa. The building alone costs AUD $150,000.
The shelter was designed to cater for 32 children under the age 12 who are victims of physical, verbal and sexual abuse. Mr. Des La Rance said the cost of the building was covered by their patron who wished to remain anonymous. The house consists of several bedrooms with bed bunks and storage space, bathrooms for genders, a kitchen and laundromat.
Asked where he had the idea used to design the house, Le Rance said he got the idea when they built a Pre-school at Matafa’a after the tsunami struck in 2009.
Alongside the preschool they also built a toilet block and a playground. The work was completed in August 2010. He said that they used a container to build the toilet block and this is where he got the idea to build the Children’s House of Hope from using containers.
“So from using that idea we used four containers to build the house in a square. Containers are heavy and will not get worn down easily. The ceiling was made high in order to have an airy atmosphere within the house,” said Mr. Des La Rance.
He said the project had been a team effort and the number of volunteers varied from week to week. In the first week there were 12 members, during the second week 18 people worked on the project and within the last week 13 team members completed the house. He said some of them stayed here one week and would return back home while others stayed throughout the first week to the fourth. Many rotary clubs and other people who wanted to help out Surfers Sunrise contributed to the project. Even ladies from Australia wove the tapestries which decorate the interior design of the house.
“It’s great, when you see the look in the children’s eyes,” he said on the completion of the project.
Project Coordinator Mario Fairlie said he and his team arrived four weeks ago.“The ground was bare when we were shown the site to build on.”
The Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, High Commissioners of both Australia and New Zealand, His Excellency Stephen Henningham and His Excellency Nick Hurley, SVSG Patron Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau, SVSG President Lina Chang other government dignitaries members of the community, SVSG staff, village representatives and the children under their care were present for the official ceremony.