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Pacific in Union officially launched in Samoa.

Students receiving presents from Digby and Ben Tapuai. [courtesy photo]

A crowd of close to 300 students, teachers and members of the public turned up in support of launching Pacific in Union Program in Samoa last week. Most people asked for a hand shake, autographs and to hear them talk about health and to get good education.

Samoa’s Prime Minster, Hon Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, who is also Chairman of Samoa Rugby Union, delivered the keynote address during which he thanked AusAid for funding the program.

"This program helps to contribute to the achievement of our Millennium Development Goals. I'd also like to thank Australia for choosing Samoa, PNG and Solomon Islands," he said. "It was a proud moment to see Samoan players overseas playing for the Rugby World Cup tournament last year and would help uplift Samoa's status around the world."

Australia’s High Commissioner in Samoa, HE Stephen Henningham, says the introduction of the program will continue to maintain strong relationship between Samoa and Australia.

"It is also good to see young men of Samoan heritage having success in Australia," he said.

Mr. Henningham reiterated the main objective of Pacific in Union, which is to support healthy lifestyle messages as well as education.

"I encourage you to be active in sports and have a healthy diet," he said.

Ben Tapuai and Digby Ioane gave words of encouragement.

"Keep active and stay in school because you never know where you’re going to be in life. We wanted to be rugby players. If you really want to be whatever you’re aiming for you can achieve it, just put all your hard work into it. Also believe in God; we wouldn’t be here without him," said Ben.

Digby stressed to the students, that there is life after rugby.

“There is life after rugby, it doesn’t matter how good you are on the field, one injury can end it for you, but at least you have other options.  It’s important to be educated because your whole life cannot be based on your skills on the rugby field — even those wear out” he said.

Ioane added "It’s a great honor to be role models for the future generations. You can be whatever you want to be after achieving one goal, you can move on to another to get ahead in life. There's a life after rugby," he said.

Pacific in Union aims at promoting healthy life styles, life values and a range of educational goals including literacy through rugby, targeting primary and secondary level schools in Samoa.

Its four main components of Mass Participation Program, Community Development Program, Talent Optimization and blowing the whistle on Crime Program are expected to be incorporated as special classes in classrooms. Other components are to be delivered through public programs.

(Source: Samoa Rugby Union media release)



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