Children have always held an important place in the culture and traditions of Papua New Guinea. They are the source of group strengths, descent, identity and other kin-related values. They are the future of the tribe and the State, the embodiment of development, security and justice espoused in the country’s Constitution. Children make up almost half of Papua New Guinea’s largely rural population. The population is estimated at 6.2 million; a vast majority of them live in hard to reach areas, with difficulty in accessing services. Despite having great potential, the population remains fragmented and poverty is deepening for the majority of them. According to most recent estimates 40 per cent live in absolute poverty.
In the local Oro dialect Tembari means “Drifter or roaming around”, and just outside of Port Moresby at 7 mile ATS Oro settlement is the Tembari Children’s Care Inc. (TCC) a community based organization (CBO) is a day care facility formed to promote and improve the living standards of venerable children and also to educate communities on children’s rights to survival, protection development and participation. To date it has taken more than 200 children – orphans, abandoned and the unfortunate by serving them with two meals a day and providing early child hood education for children from the ATS Oro settlement. Tembari, which provides pre-school, elementary and primary education to its beneficiaries and the other children within community, also conducts a feeding program from Monday to Friday.
Most of the children after passing out of the school have attended other primary schools for upper primary education and one each has attended Jubilee and Gerehu Secondary schools.
Tembari Children Care was founded by Mrs. Penny Sage-embo in 3rd of March of 2003 as a small Children’s Fellowship Group (CFG) while being a Sunday school teacher of the Anglican Church Sunday School Ministry. She is also a HIV/AIDS Community Educator doing counseling, caring and supporting people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).
The main source of funding and support since its inception comes from corporate entities, foundations, individuals and others. To name a few, Curtain Brothers, Dekenai Construction, RH PNG Group, the Water Company, Malaysian Association of PNG, Australian High Commission, Filipino Association of PNG and the list goes on. The external support and assistance comes by way of donations like food, building materials, water tanks and even cash to fund the daily operations, wages for volunteer staffs and importantly food for the feeding program.
According to Hayward Sagembo the Chairman of TCC, they wanted an urgent assistance for a double classroom for Grade three and four, uniforms, fencing and basic stationeries for the running of the school. In addition, they urgently need a mini van for pick up and drop off children from the centre in other schools within the city and daily runs for the office and some protein and a four burner electric stove.
“We have not received any form of support from the Government through the Office of Community Development, Member for Port Moresby North East, NCD Education authorities and even the NCD Governor since we started operation in 2008”, according to Hayward. Since ATS Oro settlement will become developed to an urban suburb or need soon there will be a greater demand for a school within that area. So how can we partner with the government to deliver this much needed services to our unfortunate kids in the settlement area?