NUKU'ALOFA, 2 September 2021. In a meeting at TYEE Head Office, Mataika to confirm TYEE & SELEKA's strategic collaborative arrangements both wanted to see both organisations flourish so they could do more for the young people/youth of Tonga, not only here in Tongatapu but to include the outer islands. They both believe that with the right support system in place and opportunities – the sky will not be the limit.
“Koe LANGA NGAUE ‘oku fakahoko ‘i Tonga ni na’e kamata’aki pe mei he me’a na’e ma’u ‘i hona nima. Both the founders and their respective organisations started their work in Tonga from scratch”.
Tevita Latu is a prominent Tongan artist and Founder of Seleka International Art Society Initiative (SIASI). Seleka International Art Society Initiative was founded by Tevita Latu in 2008 aimed at promoting art and encouraging youth artists in Tonga.
Tevita Latu had a chance to study art in Australia and he always promised himself that when he would return to Tonga he would teach Tongans about art, and the Seleka initiative was the result.
Although Seleka lost their initial art space to cyclone Gita, this did not harm Tevita and his team’s spirit – they rebuilt an art space in Tevita’s home and started an art movement here in Tonga. Tevita’s vision for Seleka is “to go to the poorest village and teach art to the young kids there”. On Seleka’s Facebook page “about section” it reads, “Enrichment of young people in the Arts”.
Tevita Latu of Seleka, and the Director of TYEE Lusia Latu-Jones came together at this challenging time with shared passion, goals, and motivation for the development, empowerment, and enrichment of the young people/youth of Tonga through their respective organisations.
TYEE was established in 2014 with the aim to help young school-leavers aged 18 to 35 to address youth unemployment in Tonga. Through relevant work-readiness & life skills development, employment, entrepreneurship, and mentorship support. TYEE vision is “to be the leading support service organisation in youth employment and youth entrepreneurship in Tonga”.
We recognize art as one of the relevant components to incorporate to TYEE’s program activities, and we are pleased for Seleka as our local partner at work. This is to encourage youth talents, creative thinking, imagination, innovation, and creativity in the youth without fear due to limitations of cultural and academic barriers as they make their decisions for their career paths, world of work, and business through entrepreneurship and innovation challenge. After all, the children of today are the future leaders, innovators, job creators, etc. of our country!
We are honored to work in partnership with Tevita Latu and Team Seleka to offer the relevant opportunities and support to our participating young people. We look forward to developing this valuable partnership and seeing what tomorrow will bring to our journey and movement, together.
Official Launch of the first National Youth Policy & Strategic Plan 2021-2025
TYEE was pleased to join the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and other relevant stakeholders for this year's International Youth Day 2021 (IYD 2021) celebrations at Falemasiva Hall, Tailulu College on Thursday, 12th August 2021. The celebration was an opportunity for the Tonga Government to officially launch the first ever Tonga National Youth Policy and the Strategic Plan 2021 to 2025 to commemorate the IYD. The Guest of Honour was the Speaker of Tonga Parliament, Lord Fakafanua who also received the official copy of the Policy and Strategic Plan from the Hon. Minister of Internal Affairs (MIA), the Ministry who is responsible for the Youth Development Division of Tonga. The Policy identities five key priority areas vital to support of youth development in Tonga.
The theme for this year's International Youth Day (IYD) was localised by the Youth Stakeholder's Forum to fit the purpose as; "Healthy Youth, Healthy Tonga" (Ko e To'utupu Mo'uilelei, Tonga Mo'uilelei).
Winner: Booth Competition
Tonga youth stakeholders and youths also participated in a booth competition to commemorate the International Youth Day 2021 with the theme "Healthy Youth, Healthy Tonga" which is in line with the international day theme: “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”. TYEE was pleased to be awarded with the First Prize, T$1000 Cash for Best Booth proudly sponsored by the South Pacific Community (SPC) Fiji. The TNYC won the second prize, and Live & Learn won the third prize.
TYEE Youth Fashion Show
TYEE also celebrated the IYD with a Youth Fashion Show to showcase some of our youth entrepreneurs' talents, skills and creativity in fashion, graphic designing, makeup, hairstyling, kupesi (Tongan cultural designs), tattoos and much more.
TYEE was honored to host our youth Fashion Designer/Entrepreneur for this fashion show, Ms Lavinia Fehoko who was the winner of TYEE Youth Fashion Designer Competition from last year 2020, also a registered youth entrepreneur and participant in TYEE Youth Innovation (Mafoa 'A e Ata) Challenge 2021. Through effective collaborations to showcase the local participating youth entrepreneurs talents and expertise, the fashion show also highlighted some of the Tongan kupesi being used on the designer's clothes by Mr. Taleta Maka of 'Otu Felenite Tattoo & Barber Shop. This is a local Tongan tattoo artist who specializes in Polynesian Art and Designs.
There were two categories, Tradition Wear and Formal Wear chosen by the Youth Fashion Designer, Ms. Lavinia Fehoko to honour the Tonga youth on this International Youth Day, to wear the clothes with pride and to celebrate the youth of their achievements.
Also acknowledging the back stage assistants and models who lend us a hand to put up a great and entertaining fashion show.
1. Hair stylist & Make Up: Ms. Paea Manu and Christina Latu
2. Female Models: Ms. Lute Ofanoa, Tania Silakivai, Kalolaine Fau, Maile Malimali, Katinia 'Aisake.
3. Male Models: Teolosia Falemaka, Sione Tupou, Semisi Vaioleti.
We would like to thank all our staff, volunteers, families and friends for all their assistants and support, with you, we all did it.
Photo Gallery, IYD 2021
"Say goodbye to plastic bags" with the new development to TYEE Go Green Project 2021: SWAP-SEW-SELL.
The whole of each bag is recycled clothing.
Empowering, supporting, and incubating our youth entrepreneurs to develop their ideas, passion, and skills to create jobs and start a small business.
I didn’t pay much attention to sewing at first, because I used to believe that sewing is only for old people and also I wanted to pursue in the field of Information Technology (IT). When I started to sew I was actually scared and very shy because I didn’t want my colleagues and friends to label me as the sewer but little did I know my future awaited me but I didn’t realise at the time. However, my very own inspiration came from my mother who has been sewing our clothes ever since I was a child. My mother told me once, “Sofaia you will be safe in sewing because you’ll be your own boss and also be able to provide for your own family when that time comes”.
With that encouragement from the most hardworking person in our household I then decided to take a sewing class for one year of 6 courses. It was a challenge because I never studied about sewing in high school. And also I was the only youth in this class and the rest were mothers and married women. Being in the class with women whose 10years older than I am was not very encouraging at first yet very helpful in the end. This was just last year and now I am looking at the outcome of risking that challenge and I am proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone not listening to what others said and completed my sewing courses.
These shopping bags were made from the recycled clothes that were not being swapped by the youth at our ongoing Go Green SWAP Project events. From these clothes I used bits and pieces from various clothes just to create one bag. To be honest this is not an easy task to do. Because I had to spend time on matching these various clothes regarding colours and styles for a bag to look attractive. Also, I must be incredibly careful with the material that I choose to utilise for not every fabric is suitable for a bag. Mind you one bag is not made from one piece of clothing. It consist at least six different pieces of clothing to create one. To patch these various clothing materials, I had to be cautious when I sew them because I did not want to ruin one piece for that will not make the bag complete. But the best thing about these bags production is that these clothes are not completely new, they are recycled clothes. There were some that had stains and some were torn so I had to use the only part that wasn’t torn or stained to come up with different patterns, designs, and complete bags. What a fun experience that was!
These bags are created for us to utilise for shopping, church, school instead of using plastic bags. This is our contribution to the betterment of our environment for we all know the damage these plastic bags do to our environment. This is not an easy task as I mentioned earlier because not a lot of youth has the knowledge and the skills to sew from used clothes not brand new fabrics. Not only that it is a challenge to create a different design from its original. To be honest sewing is easy and quite fast I should say but it consists a lot of time in terms of creativity.
Looking at the final product I have finally made I’m glad to convey a vote of thanks to my Teacher Mrs. Maopa Finau for all the help and encouragement you have given me throughout the time we spend during the sewing course. Not only that I’d like to say a huge Thank you to my parents for always having my back on every step of the way that brought me to TYEE today. Also a vote of thanks to TYEE for the chance I am given to showcase my love and passion towards sewing. [by Miss S. Kivalu, 21 years old].
The Bags are on display at TYEE, also be available online on Tonga Youth Trade Hub platform for sale. Made to order, 3 designs are available.
Your support and purchase will be re-invested into each project to help us to develop our youth entrepreneurs, create more jobs, and start more youth businesses during these challenging times while we contribute to our environment. Our concept: waste reduction, affordability, sustainability.
If not us, then who? If not now, then when?
Contact TYEE today with your interest. You can find us here.
From Alaivahamama'o Bypass Rd,
Turn into Hekoni Rd (Hala ki Pili), take the first Right turn, then take the first Left turn.
Tel: +676 685-5259 Mobile: +676 770-6340 / 842-5259
Monday to Friday: 9am - 4pm (Except Public Holidays)
The first step to getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are. If you don’t step forward you will always be in the same place and if you won’t try then you will never know. This is all that it took for these ambitious young ladies to participate on the platform that TYEE offers for the youth of today.
As mentioned by the leader of this group Mrs. Fololeni Tufui, “I never knew that I could be part of this opportunity for I thought TYEE’s program is only for single ladies. As I went through social media only to find out that even us married women with kids can participate in this program then I reached out. Though I have been questioned by my relatives and friends for joining this platform but that didn’t stop me for all I needed was a chance for me and my family”. Such values and dedication brought this hardworking mother to TYEE for the sake of her family. How about the single ladies and boys?
Coming out of High School from Funga Faa’imata relying on my parents for every provision triggered Miss. Lavulavu to step forward and be part of TYEE Work Readiness Program just to explore her independence life. Seeing the ambition and the eagerness to be independent at the age of 19 in this time of pandemic is why we invest on the youth, for the future lies on the youth of today. Commencing with our Work Readiness where we empower, develop their skills, and prepare these individuals to come out of their own shells, to TYEE Go Green Project Phase2 that gives them the chance for practical work experience to apply their skills and boost their confidence while helping our environment by recycling quality clothes to reduce waste for the betterment of our environment. This is part of the innovative ways of how TYEE help to prepare these individuals for the work environment.
Nowadays, it is obviously difficult for youth to step out of their comfort zone due to other’s opinion and what not. But that was not the case for these beautiful young ladies for they decided to take those small steps that would make the difference. They did not let their limiting beliefs and problems push them, but they were led by their dreams for a better tomorrow, and that is when they landed on their first life changing entrance to the door at TYEE.
The future, being shaped today for the youth can be a difficult task but for us to witness the quietest person ending up the bubbliest soul in the group drives us to more difficult tasks. Seeing 10 individuals finishing the program stronger, motivated, and confident than which they were when they came in is why we are here for youth. For we cannot always build a future for the youth but we can build our youth for the future.
Life is full of surprises and sometimes the most shocking surprises are the most beautiful ones. As Ms. Mapu shared, “I did not even know I can stand in front of these many people and say something because I never did, for it was one of my weaknesses. But after the whole Work Readiness Program I am now standing in front of more than 40 people sharing my experience on this amazing program and journey while feeling good and confident than I have ever felt before.” Bringing out the hidden potential in these individuals who were not aware of that they had it after a couple of weeks is enough for TYEE to continuously shape the future of the youth today.
To witness one of the Event invites, Mrs. Poteau Kaumatule being inspired and encouraged by just witnessing these young ladies sharing their experience from the program is why we empower and give hope to the youth today to rise-up! For she thought that dropping out from school early and having kids there was no hope for her.
“There is no greater motivation than knowing I am becoming someone I can be proud of”, Mrs. Tufui learned from being part of this platform. So wherever you go, go with all your heart!
[Ex-The Commonwealth News & Events website] Regional Finalist - The Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work 2021.
Congratulations! Miss Ilaisaane Lolohea Manu (TYEE) - Tonga has been selected as a Regional Finalist, representing the Pacific, for the Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work 2021. This wonderful recognition is warmly shared with our individual youth who have played a part and contributed to our youth work. This is for all of you too, and Tonga! You can view the Finalists and Miss Manu's profile on this link: Regional Finalists!
Twenty extraordinary young individuals including inventors, activists and entrepreneurs from 18 countries have been announced as finalists for this year’s Commonwealth Youth Awards.
The awards recognise outstanding Commonwealth young people whose projects are transforming lives in their communities and helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
More than 1,000 entries from 43 Commonwealth countries were received last year. The finalists were selected across each of the award’s regional categories following a rigorous judging process.
This year, the awards have expanded to include five regional categories: Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and Canada, and the Pacific.
The top finalist from each region will be announced as the regional winner at the official awards ceremony on 10 March 2021. The ceremony will be held virtually for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of these five regional winners, one outstanding young person will become the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2021.
All 20 finalists will each receive a trophy, certificate and £1,000 to expand the impact of their projects. Each regional winner will receive £3,000 and the overall pan-Commonwealth winner will take home a total of £5,000.
Acknowledgement with gratitude
"I can confirm that no matter what your your age and status are, you can achieve your goals if you work hard with true commitment, be loyal to your work, and surround yourself with the right people and support then the impossible becomes possible. I would like to acknowledge the key people who have empowered, supported and helped me to come this far and be counted in this life changing awards for youth changemakers and leaders.