The Australia Pacific Technical College (APTC) was the proud recipient of the 2013 Pacific Human Rights Award, one of only four organisations and two individuals selected from across the region to be recognised for their outstanding work and contribution towards advancing the human rights of Pacific Islanders and their communities.
APTC delivers internationally recognised Australian vocational qualifications to existing workers in targeted industry sectors across the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) countries. APTC is a development initiative funded by the Australian Government.
The short video submission by APTC titled “Building Hope” highlights the dynamic partnership between APTC, the Samoa Adventist Disaster Relief Agency (ADRA) and the local community. Together they built shelter for 200 of the ‘most severely disadvantaged’ families in Samoan villages in the South West of Upolu Island, following the devastation caused by Cyclone Evan in December 2012.
The impact on the villages went far beyond the benefitting families - the village matai (chief) and pulinu’u (mayor) were involved in the entire selection and rebuilding process, and so the whole village was invested in improving the lives of the most vulnerable. The fale shelters are cyclone resistant (with cyclone strapping) and have been the foundation for families rebuilding their lives after the destruction brought about by Cyclone Evan. A further serendipitous effect has been achieved by including females in the training cohort- this has positively challenged previously held beliefs about women in traditional trades.
For the 15 local villagers, the training provides an international qualification in a Certificate III in Carpentry and a pathway to a career they may never have dreamed of. According to Fa’amalologa Taseni, an APTC student, “this training has not just opened the windows for me- it has also opened the doors to the future and to the world”.
The Samoan economy has also benefitted from the investment in people, goods, materials and services through the donor and NGO contributions that have made the project possible. All goods and services have been purchased locally.
Samoa’s economy will also benefit on a long term sustainable basis as 15 tradespeople contribute to the wage and employment sector.
The Pacific Human Rights Awards are presented biennially. The awards for 2013 were presented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Deputy Secretary General, Mrs Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu.
The recipients of the Pacific Human Rights Awards were honoured at a ceremony hosted by the SPC’s Regional Rights and Resource Team (SPC RRRT), held at the University of the South Pacific on Thursday 5 December, 2013. APTC was represented by its CEO, Denise O’Brien, Samoa Campus Director- Francis Howes and Carpentry Trainer, Sajendra Bali. Pictured: APTC Carpentry Trainer, Sajendra Bali participates in the rebuilding process on Upolu.