The Samoa Victim Support Group’s Campus of Hope has acknowledged the timely assistance received by members of the community as numbers reach record highs in the face of socio-economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the most vulnerable of Samoa society.
President of SVSG Siliniu Lina Chang says loss of income and the effects of COVID-19 on the socio-economic status of the average Samoan family has ignited known triggers of domestic violence.
“Stress and anxiety have lead to escalating rates of domestic violence, and the United Nations research recording 68% of Samoans having lost income due to the pandemic, is a clear indication of what had mostly triggered violence nowadays; the loss of income”, says Siliniu in a press statement.
“As we are still adjusting to the new norm in our daily lives due to the COVID-19, while we are also forced to deal with domestic violence becoming an epidemic during a pandemic, the goodness of the Lord continues to shine through the compassion of humanity.
The self-funded non government organisation (NGO) takes in children and victims of sexual and domestic violence, often being abused within their own homes in Samoa. SVSGs Campus of Hope relies on donations from the community and its key partners and stakeholders, to stay afloat. Costs facing the House of Hope includes accommodation, meals, clothing.., and for new-born babies – milk formula, diapers and medical costs.
This week the House of Hope acknowledge the support of long serving members of Samoa’s business community, Klaus and Norma Stunzner who have operated Samoa Spare Parts in Apia for over 3 decades. The Stunzner family grandchildren visited the campus with much needed supplies, “just as we needed it most”, says the SVSG President.
“Klaus & Norma Stunzner’s legacy of giving is continued on by its children and grandchildren”, said Siliniu.
“Our average intake at any one time is 70 but we now have 100+ women and children in residence..”
Siliniu said they were starting to feel the brunt of the pandemic when the Stunzner family came forward to join others in lending a helping hand.
“Seeing the joy on the Stunzner grandchildren’s faces as they helped their mothers and aunties to carry the supplies of formula milk, bulk food supplies, toiletries and even vegetables, gave us hope. Because it is the compassion behind the donation that has a lasting impression on us as we continue to serve our community in need”, said the President.
Affectionately known as Mama Lina on campus, Siliniu said a stronger community alliance is what the Campus of Hope needs the most at this time.
“This is especially the case as we visited underprivileged families and witnessed how trying these times really are for us all”.
“Thank you so much Klaus & Norma Stunzner and your lovely family for always stepping in to lend a helping hand when we need it the most;
“Together, we are building a stronger community alliance to resound our ancestors cry, ‘Samoa mo Samoa’ as we fought for liberation back in the days; only this time, we are standing together against the COVID-19 pandemic, fighting for our right to live”, adds the SVSG President.
This week more than 10 cases of sexual violence towards young girls were heard before criminal mentions in Samoa’s Supreme Court. Amongst these 2 teachers face charges for rape and sexual acts towards a 17 year old student; an 82 year old man pleaded guilty to carnal knowledge towards a 12 year old and another man pleaded guilty to raping a 13 year old.
The SVSG House of Hope often provides a home to the victims of such cases and in most incidents, victims of sexual violence, pregnant teenage girls live and give birth while they are under the care of the Campus of Hope.
The newly formed political party FAST had also visited this week offering a helping hand, as reported by Talamua media.