Samoa

 

Samoa is a small island nation in the South Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main islands: the larger, but less populated and less developed Savai’i; and the smaller Upolu, on which the capital, Apia, is located.

 

The population is approximately 190,000, 38% of whom are under 15 years of age, thus making Samoa one of the ‘youngest’ countries in the world.

Samoa is considered the “cradle of Polynesia”. People have lived on the islands of Samoa for about 3000 years and it was from here that these seafaring adventurers dispersed to other island groups within the Polynesian region.

Samoa Map

What is not so well known is the poverty and lack of opportunity in which so many are trapped, with young people usually being the most disadvantaged. Beneath the extraordinary beauty of these tropical islands and the amazing hospitality of the Samoan people lies suffering, poverty, lack of opportunity, unemployment and the progressive corrosion of their ancient culture.

Educational opportunities are significantly less that those taken granted in developed countries.  Classes are often very large and classes of 40 or 50 students per class is not uncommon in Primary schools.  Students have extremely limited access to technology and the internet at school, and very few families have internet access at home.  School fees, usually fairly minimal, are often too expensive for families to pay. 

Most families do not have their own car or other motor vehicle.  Public transport is usually the only option for most people.  There is access to good medical treatment for those who can afford it.  But in reality, access to medical treatment is often limited by a family's inability to pay for medication and other medical supplies. 

Many post-school age young people are neither working nor studying.  The cost of university and other tertiary fees excludes many young people as neither they or their families have access to the money needed to pay for fees.  While many young people do some work in their family's plantation, young people tend to have significant amounts of free time and often have nothing positive or constructive to do.  To their credit, youth crime is not the significant issue that it is in some countries.

Samoa is also particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. Earthquakes are common and the 2009 Samoan 8.1 magnitude earthquake generated a tsunami which caused great loss of life and substantial damage in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga. Cyclones regularly cause substantial damage to the coconut, taro and banana plantations upon which locals depend to survive. These tropical storms leave a trail of disaster that takes many years to repair leaving the locals with additional crosses to carry.

Don Bosco Samoa works directly with disadvantaged young people and provides education, trades training, sport and recreation activities and cultural opportunities to young people many of whom are poor and disadvantaged.

Your support is vital to assist us in the ongoing mission to provide young Samoans with the opportunities to escape disadvantage and build a positive future for themselves and their families.
 

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