It was a night of extravagance as Nuanua O Le Alofa (N.O.L.A.) celebrated those who have been leading the way in the name of disability advocacy in Samoa.
Held at the Tanoa Tusitala conference room on Friday night, guests were treated to a night of fun as they witnessed awards being presented in four different categories; Ministry of the year, N.G.O. of the year, Media of the year and Disability Champion of the year.
Giving her address on behalf of the Australian Government (N.O.L.A.’s biggest supporter) was the Australian High Commissioner, Sue Langford, who said there’s no greater feeling than to work towards improving lives and opportunities for those living with disabilities.
She adds N.O.L.A.’s work is nothing to take lightly.
“Working to advance the opportunities for and improve the lives of people with disabilities has been one of my true highlights of my time as a High Commissioner here in Samoa,” she said.
“I want to commend Mata’afa and the N.O.L.A. team for the vital role you play in giving a voice to people with disabilities.”
“N.O.L.A. has been leading the way in advocating for and expanding opportunities for people with disabilities.”
Ms. Langford also expressed the importance of having prize giving’s of that nature because it shines a light on all the good work done towards a more inclusive Samoa.
“Awards ceremonies such as this are important,” she said.
“They highlight best practice, and recognize achievements. They promote innovation, ideas and new ways of doing things that others can take on board.”
“Australia is pleased and proud to be supporting these awards to acknowledge employers, media and church groups who have used inclusive measures to involve people with disabilities.”
But as all good things go, there will always be room for improvement.
“Australia is a strong advocate for people with disabilities,” Ms. Langford said.
“Through our disability and education aid programs, we have been providing support to ensure that all people with disabilities are given the same opportunities to improve their quality of life.”
“In recognizing these achievements, we also recognize that there is still work to do to ensure equal opportunities are provided for all. We will continue to work in partnership with the organizations like N.O.L.A. to ensure we achieve this.”
• Ministry of the year award – Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
• N.G.O. of the year award – Samoa Family Health Association
• Media of the year award – Nuulua Faleafa E.F.K.S.
• Disability champion award – Piller Pouesi.