Samoa suffers from poverty of opportunity

By Vatapuia Maiava and Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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OUR PEOPLE NEED MORE OPPORTUNITIES: Harieta Gafa, 26, from the village of Faleula with her house, pictured below.

OUR PEOPLE NEED MORE OPPORTUNITIES: Harieta Gafa, 26, from the village of Faleula with her house, pictured below.

According to Harieta Gafa, from the village of Faleula, she says that Samoa has changed so much, but the change isn’t for the better.

She says that in Samoa, our government is trying too hard to be like overseas nations and are leaving our people in the dust.

Harieta said living in Samoa has become way too challenging for the ordinary citizens.

 “It’s hard to get a job here, the price of food is so expensive, and there are so many other problems in Samoa.” 

“I think the issue here is that Samoa is trying too hard to be like Australia and New Zealand and forgetting that we are Samoa.”

“I don’t think we should pretend or try to be like other countries. If you look at other countries they have good opportunities for their people; they have support and they have a lot that keeps them developed.”

Harieta says that the saddest sight is seeing the children of Samoa grow up and not have the same opportunity to live their lives.

“We are a humble nation and we should focus on those who are in need rather than trying to be something we’re not,” she said.

“Looking at people who are in need, the children who are in need. We have kids who can’t attend school because the parents can’t afford their fees.”

“Kids start in primary then they make their way to college but when they reach university they drop out because they can’t afford it.”

She said that if we want to be like New Zealand, then we should at least adopt their way of handling poverty.

“Rather than try so hard to develop like New Zealand, we can adopt the ways they focus on their people,” Harieta said.

Harieta Gafa’s house at Faleula.
Harieta Gafa’s house at Faleula.

“We need to give opportunities to our people. For example; free education or cheap to the students and upon graduating then they can pay the government back when they work.”

“From my view, Samoa is becoming over the top. We need to give families the opportunity to get to higher levels in Samoa.”

“I always hear our leaders say that our children are the next generation, our children are this, our children are that, but why don’t they focus on our children more through better opportunities?”

According to Harieta, the best way for Samoa to move forward is to give them more opportunities for their individual lives.

“I would love to see change for the better,” she said.

“I want to see our children grow up and smile and say they are proud to be Samoan. I have many friends who try and claim to be half this or half that, and there are many people in Samoa who would rather be white than be Samoan.”

“We need to change that mindset. If we give more opportunities to our people then we will be able to move forward together.”

“If we improve then our future generation will be proud to be Samoan.”

All in all, Harieta says that Samoa need to see some better changes.

“I am not afraid to say that Samoa is a different place,” she said.

“Can we please look at the prices we are giving to people? Can we look at the opportunities we are giving to our children? Samoa has really changed.”

“I know it’s all right to challenge ourselves to be like other developed nations but first things first. We need to worry about our people who are struggling.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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