Judith Simoata’a Sepi Gafa has always believed in the power of helping others, especially her family.
It is a belief that has shaped her life, including her career choice.
Last week, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree majoring in Human Nutrition from the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.
Judith is the second child of Rev. Sepi Gafa and Meafou Gafa’s six children from the villages of Fasito’o-tai, Fasito’o-uta and Solosolo.
Flanked by family members during the graduation, the 21-year-old gave thanks to God Almighty for being her source of strength throughout her studies.
“He gave me the courage, wisdom and knowledge in order for me to succeed in my studies,” she said.
“I took up this course because I knew it was important for my parent’s health and my family at large.”
It was a journey full of challenges and temptations.
“But as the Bible says ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13),” Judith said.
“This was my motto at times when I felt like quitting and giving up because throughout my studies I had experienced many ups and downs.”
“But all glory to God because the long sacrifice has paid off.”
Judith was one of the government scholarship awardees in 2014.
“So my journey has not ended, but has just begun,” she added.
Judith now works as a Disease Surveillance officer at the Ministry of Health.
She thanked everyone for their prayers and support.
“My parents’, families and congregation’s constant prayers and support really gave me the extra push,” Judith said.
“Not forgetting Afamasaga Asemaga Pavihi and Faletua Naioka, Nina Tofilau and Vaagi of the Pacific Island Centre.”
“My grandmothers Osooso Fa’atali Gafa and Elenoa Lealaisalanoa of Fasito’o-Uta and Vaipuna, not forgetting Fuamavae Sosa, uncle Lesaisaoa Sonny Fa’aloua and wife Paea’i in Auckland New Zealand.”
“Fa’afetai tele lava!”
Judith is a former student of Samoa College, N.U.S, Fasito’o-Uta Primary School, Utuali’i Primary School and Apia Primary School.
Her parents serve at the Congregational Christian Church at Solosolo.