Nuanua O Le Alofa (N.O.L.A.) held a two-day forum for young people with disabilities at the Moanalisa Hotel conference room earlier this month.
“Youth with disabilities are blessings, their calling is to serve, if given the opportunity they can do great things,” reigning Miss Samoa, Alexandra Iakopo said during the event.
According to a press statement, the event was an opportunity to revisit the organisation’s action plan 2016-2018, discuss challenges, opportunities and a way forward for the organisation and select members of the executive for the years 2018-2020.
The Forum was an eye opener for many young person’s especially those with the skills but unable to move forward due to very limited opportunities, the statement highlighted.
Furthermore, the forum opened new avenues for awareness raising by N.O.L.A. as an organisation.
“The businesses are not aware of the skills of young persons with disabilities,” a representative of Samoa Stationeries and Books said in the statement.
The Forum was attended by 76 participants, which included 45 young persons, 23 males and 22 females.
“We acknowledge our partners both from Government and non-government organisation, The Ministry of Women Community and Social Developments, the private sector and individuals who have dedicated their time and efforts to share their experiences, their services and supports to enrich the forum.
“We appreciate sincerely the technical/ financial support of D.F.A.T. which enabled Nuanua O Le Alofa and its partners to advocate for an inclusive and barrier free Samoa for persons with disabilities,” the statement said.
The two-day event concluded with the selection of the N.O.L.A. youth executive for the years 2018-2020.
Newly elected president for the youth group, Tusiga Taofiga, during his presentation encouraged the Forum to understand that success is about celebrating our achievements and remembering those who helped us to make a difference.
“I will never forget the moment I tried to get into university. I was fortunate to have strong advocates like my sister Faaolo. She realised I have a purpose and necessary modifications are needed to fulfill my dreams,” he said in the statement.
The new executive committee members are Tusiga Taofiga (president), Suria Apulu (vice president), Maggie Aiono (secretary), and Melissa Leota (treasurer).
The three committee members include Simona Simati, Roine Koneferenisi and Telea Iosefa Te’e Levu.
“I wish you all the very best, collectively you can walk through challenges of the next two years and welcome the successes ahead,” former youth president, Mataafa Faatino Utumapu, said in the statement.
Tusiga said the future of young persons with disabilities is in good hands with the appointment of the new committee members.