The school grounds were abuzz with excitement as the children looked on to a tent filled with stationary donated by SSAB and a field of activities, eager to get the ball rolling.
Pastor Paulo of the Seventh Day Adventist Church opened the festivities with a prayer followed by games which promoted gender equality, one of the programme’s primary objectives.
Boys and girls from the ages of six to twelve were taught to respect each other and work together through short football sessions.
The children also got to take a break from the sun by drawing pictures of their favourite school subject in the Bluesky tent, celebrating their right to education and 25 years of UNICEF’s convention on the rights of the child.
Just Play Development Officer Nadia Malifa has seen the popularity of the program increase in the village since it was implemented.
“Our team was approached by Ropati Sofara to run the Just Play programme in Faleasiu three months ago and since then, we’ve only seen it grow”, she said.
“A large number of children attend all of our Just Play activities so it was only fitting that we give back to the children of Faleasiu by holding the festival here in their village”.
Local businesses showed their support for the programme through the donation of supplies for the festival.
The coaches were clothed in Bluesky t-shirts with a few volunteers from the Projects Abroad program on hand to assist with activities and Ah Liki Wholesale helped out with refreshments.
Just Play project manager Lynette Faaiuaso was grateful for the local support.
“I’d like to acknowledge our local sponsors including SSAB, Ah Liki Wholesale and Bluesky for their contribution to this Just Play festival”, she said.
Football is definitely becoming a village favourite with plans to enter a youth team into the Football Federation Samoa youth league next year and the formation of Faleasiu Kids Soccer Club.
The F.F.S team will oversee the last phase of the Just Play programme in Faleasiu which addresses social inclusion of persons with special needs followed by a festival to wrap up the 16 week monitoring period.