A 13-year-old girl from the village of Falelauniu, Sina Faaulufalena, has spoken out on why she became a child vendor.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer yesterday on the sidelines of the “buddy up” programme run by the SVSG Juniors, she said her family were not able to pay for her school fees, which is why she sells goods on the street.
“I do not attend school because my family does have financial support to send me to school. My mother passed away and at the moment I am raised by my grandfather.
“I had the chance to learn at the Campus of Hope, and I am currently taking part in the Buddy up campaign by SVSG Juniors in giving us hope for a better future.
“The programme makes me feel special like I am important and I have learned so far that education is very important and that it will help me achieve my dreams. I want to work in the office or be a doctor when I grow up,” she said.
Tomasi Peni — who represented the International Labour Organisation (ILO) at the programme — said one of his organisation’s mandate is to look out for violations of human rights through child labour.
“Child labour is a violation of fundamental human rights and has been shown to hinder children’s development, potentially leading to lifelong physical or psychological damage.
“Evidence points to a strong link between household poverty and child labour, and child labour perpetuates poverty across generations by keeping the children of the poor out of school and limiting their prospects for upward social mobility,” he said.