THE Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Lord Fakafanua has challenged the participants of ‘She Leads Fale Alea ‘o Tonga’ program to play a leading role in addressing the youth unemployment issue.
Lord Fakafanua made the remarks during the last session of the ‘She Leads Fale Alea’ program that ended at the weekend.
The Speaker said participants should be independent and not rely on government, parents and everyone else to address youth unemployment.
He made the remarks after he applauded one of the ‘She Leads Fale Alea’ participants who offered a one workable solution to tackling youth unemployment.
‘She Leads Fale Alea’ Minister of Revenue and ‘Eua MP, Lesieli Tonga Kafa said due to the lack of job opportunities available, young people have a choice to act now and to provide for themselves. This is one remarkable solution Ms. Kafa challenged the youth with in efforts to address youth unemployment.
Ms. Kafa said she has learnt from Youtube a new skill that had helped her and an older sibling making money. They make hair elastic accessories, small mini handbag and sold at the flea market. Their first sale proceeds was over $600.
Lesieli Kafa - who make money from selling small mini bag & hair accessory
The Lord Speaker told participants they are the future generation and therefore they should be independent. He said they should be agents for change in creating jobs and generating income for them. “This is so five years from today they have a business to run and it would have a huge impact on addressing problems relating to youth unemployment,’ said Lord Speaker.
The Speaker advised women and girls to improve themselves by utilizing Youtube for any trade skill, independent and generate money for a living.
Another participant ‘Anaseini Vaitaki of the Tonga USP Campus, Institute of Education also encouraged others to follow suit with Ms. Kafa’s initiative. She said during the COVID-19 national lockdown, she plant vegetables and other plants on pots and earn a living from selling it on Facebook Garage Sale. She also has a nursery and she saved money from buying vegetables.
'Anaseini Vaitaki - She Leads Fale Alea Deputy Prime Minister
Vaitaki also mentioned she also managed to make and sell 50 milk ice-block after work as another means of generating income.
Meanwhile Crown Princess HRH Sinaitakala Tuku’aho in her remarks to mark the closing of the week-long event noted the successful completion of its program as symbolic means women can accomplish any assigned tasks and can work together anywhere.
HRH said women play a crucial role and therefore there is need for them to participate in the political processes.
HRH also acknowledged the kind sponsorship of the UNFPA, Tonga Youth Leaders and also the Legislative Assembly Office for successfully hosting the program.
She concluded her closing speech with a quote from former British Prime Minister, Margret Thatcher – “If you want something said, ask a man, if you something done, ask a woman,”
To also mark the program closure, the Speaker also presented certificates of participation to 30 participants of the ‘She leads Fale Alea ‘o Tonga.’
‘Alakihihifo Vailala, was so grateful to be among participants of ‘She Leads Fale Alea’ amazing program. She highly recommended the program because it’s such a great opportunity for young people. And I hope it continues in the future.”
“It’s super beneficial. I just moved from New Zealand to Tonga and I’ve learnt so much about government and how it works and how our political system works. I can now see it aligns to New Zealand and how Tonga’s political system is unique than any country in the world - that is the most beneficial thing for me. And it also reminds me to keep going and get more involvement in politics,” shared Ms. Vailala.
‘Ana Latu a social media influencer who worked for MEIDECC was also so excited about the opportunity to join ‘She leads Fale Alea’ program. She said it was quite a rewarding experience for her during the one week event.
'I often listen to MPs fighting during the Fale Alea debate on the radio. When I actually sit on the MPs seat and experience what’s like to join the debate, I can feel their frustration and all,” explained Ms. Latu.
Other issues of concern, young women and girls raised during the last sitting includes education, cyber-bullying, mental health and stigmatization, banning of plastic use, discrimination of women in sports and elsewhere.