APIA, SAMOA – 21 AUGUST 2020: From the welcoming Sivatau to an emotional farewell song, members of the recently registered political party, Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi – FAST, pledged support for the House of Hope program under the Samoa Victim Support Group – SVSG.
The House of Hope currently houses close to 90 children who are mainly victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Five of the children who are less than 10 years old, were born there when their mothers sought refuge at the Campus.
FAST leader, former Speaker La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polata’ivao Schmidt and members of the FAST group visited the Campus yesterday and donated a variety of food and necessity items and $500 for the campus
La’auli said the purpose of their visit was to offer support through a partnership initiative to assist and develop the children who have suffered various kinds of physical and mental abuse within their own families and villages.
“You are the future of the country, and this is not the end of the world for you,” said La’auli told the campus residents.
FAST Focus on Family Values
The new political party is focusing on nurturing family values as one of its policy areas given the high rate physical abuse of women and children in their own homes, teen pregnancies and abandoned babies and infanticide.
“Education plays a big role in rebuilding and shaping the lives and future of these victims,” he said.
FAST is offering partnership assistance through a free internet wi-fi programme to help both the teachers and students as well as the House of Hope administration.
The free internet wi-fi according to La’auli is through the assistance from one of FAST supporters in America.
Country needs to stand together to address the problem
La’auli and members of FAST were emotional as they watched the children come alive as they performed a variety of songs and dances.
FAST’s focus is to build new social policies within government to address issues such as those addressed by the Samoa Victim Support Group and the House of Hope for abused children.
“We need our families, villages and communities to refocus on family values,” said La’auli.
“The core unit of families between parents and children, in order to stamp out the abuse and neglect of children as young as these that we have here,” he said.
“So that no other children will need to follow these young ones and what they’ve gone through.”
He noted that lives have been lost in some abuse and assault cases and pointed out that families, villages and even churches have swept some cases under the mat to hide the shame.
“For this issue to be addressed and challenged, a collective response from all sectors of the community is needed,” he said.
La’auli also acknowledged and commended SVSG President, Siliniu Lina Chang and her team for the initiative and heart that paved the way for the House of Hope as a refuge for vulnerable children.
Siliniu’s closeness to the children had earned her endearing name “Mama Lina.”
“I am overwhelmed with happiness for this support and I deeply appreciate FAST for remembering us in their Good Samaritan work,” said Siliniu.