A four year old street vendor

By Ilia L Likou ,

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SUPPORTING FAMILY: Young Ivan from Malie.

SUPPORTING FAMILY: Young Ivan from Malie.

Young children being forced on to the streets to sell goods to find money for their families has become a feature of life in Samoa these days.

“Ivan” is one of the many child vendors who roam the streets  hawking cheap goods to provide for their family.

He says he is four years old and is from the village of Malie.

The Samoa Observer met him while he was selling popcorn in front of the A.N.Z. Bank, Vaitele, during the weekend.

“I came with my mother and my other two siblings, they’re older than me,” he said.

“I sell this stuff (popcorn) while the others sell matches and threads.”

Ivan was tired and hungry when the Samoa Observer approached him.

“My mother is waiting for us in front of Frankie’s Supermarkets and she told us that we have to save money to buy us food.

“I felt sick most of the time but my mother told me that I have to help her and my other siblings to look for money so that we could survive from day to day.”

Ivan said “usually we slept in front of other shops if we are all tired, especially when no one wants to buy our stuff.

“Before day time, we catch a bus to come here to sell popcorn. Sometimes my mother leaves me with my other two siblings here and goes back home.

“That’s why we sleep in front of shops some nights.

“Some days we walk all the way back to our village (Malie) when we finish selling our stuff at night.

“Sometimes we hardly eat, so I try to sell popcorn and ask people for money to buy me twisties and ice-pop.

Asked whether he wants to attend school next year, he said yes.

“My mother told me that if I want to go to school next year then I have to sell as much popcorn as possible so that she could provide for my new uniform.

“I want to attend our primary school where one of my friends named Mika also attends.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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