Students collect donations for Samoa as it grapples with deadly measles outbreak

Students collect donations for Samoa as it grapples with deadly measles outbreak
Kahuku High student leaders, Mursina Soli, Naia Pulotu and Tealani Wasson organize a donation drive for Samoa. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

KAHUKU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Student leaders and coordinators at Kahuku High and Intermediate School are amazed by their growing donation pile to send to Samoa amid a deadly measles outbreak.

"There are people struggling. There are ways that people can help and this is one way," said Tealani Masson, Kahuku High and Intermediate School senior.

The school has a large Polynesian population so the epidemic hits close to home.

"Growing up I had never heard of anyone get the measles so that was scary," said Melanie Afualo, Kahuku FACE coordinator.

News of the dire situation in Samoa motivated the school’s student government to take action and they hope the donations provide some comfort to Samoan families

After three weeks, the students have collected children's items, bedding, sports drinks and sanitizer.

Hilton Hawaiian Village donated six pallets of towels, linens and bedding while someone in the hotel industry donated 500 travel-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner.

Senior Mursina Soli's parents are from Samoa and she has many family members there.

“We’ve been in contact with them through Skype and Facebook as well, but I’m glad to say there’s nothing bad that’s happened to them. So we keep them in our prayers,” she said.

Even though these students have never been to Samoa, the people there are close to their hearts.

“We feel very fortunate to help the people in Samoa, to help our family because anything that we can do to help them is amazing,” said Soli.

Kahuku High will collect the items until Saturday and they’re working with a contact in the country to distribute the items to relief agencies.

The students hope to ship the supplies on Monday.

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