Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fundraising for Tembari preschool classroom project


A Friend of Tembari Children

A FEW DAYS ago, a cheque donation for K7,000 was deposited to Tembari Children’s Care (TCC) bank account with Bank South Pacific-Waigani Branch to kick off a fundraising drive for a new classroom for Tembari preschool children.

The donation came from AP Engineering Ltd of Kokopo, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

We are raising at least K50,000 (US$18,000) to build a 60sqm multi-purpose hall to house a small classroom, a small dirty kitchen and a small office.

The structure, which would be 15m long and 4m wide, will have concrete flooring, timber wall and GI sheet roofing.

The classroom would accommodate a batch of 20 preschoolers who, during the school year 2010, held classes under the mango tree, next to the two classrooms occupied by the rest of our preschoolers.

This year, our preschool education program graduated 20 kids, who are now qualified to join the elementary level.

I am appealing to people who are financially able to please support the Tembari Preschool Classroom Project fundraising drive so we could provide a proper classroom to our growing numbers of young learners.

Donations to the fund can be made by direct credit to:

Tembari Children’s Care (TCC) Inc
Bank South Pacific
Waigani Branch, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Account Number: 1001481651

If you want to know more about Tembari’s activities, please visit www.tembari.blogspot.com

Email the writer: alfredophernandez@thenational.com.pg

Monday, December 27, 2010

AP Engineering Ltd of Kokopo, ENB, donates to Tembari

Jovy Baltazar, manager of Paradise Business Consultants Ltd or Port Moresby, PNG, turning over a cheque for K7,000 to Alfredo P Hernandez, a Filipino expatriate journalist, who received the donation on behalf of the Tembari children. Donated by Engr Ariel Parro, owner and managing director of AP Engineering Ltd, a construction company in East New Britain province, Papua New Guinea, the funds would go towards the building of a 60sqm multi-purpose hall that would classroom, a kitchen and an office. – Picture by Paradise Business Consultants.


A Friend of Tembari Children

AN ENGINEERING company based in Takubar, Kokopo, East New Britain, PNG, last week donated K7,000 to the Tembari Children’s Care (TCC) to help build a new classroom for its preschoolers.

The cheque from AP Engineering Ltd was turned over to me recently by Ms Jovy Baltazar, who helped me find a sponsor for our classroom project.

By the way, Jovy is the manager of Paradise Business Consultants Ltd of Port Moresby, and APEL is her client.

The owner and managing director of APEL, Engr Ariel Parro, said it was his way of giving back to the Papua New Guinean society.

Engr Parro has been operating his company for more than 10 years now, constructing roads and buildings around the island province of East New Britain, north-east of PNG.

During the school year 2010, TCC had about 45 preschool children of which two classes of more than 15 kids each held classes in two classrooms.

The third class held session under the mango tree just next to the two classrooms.

During the school year that just ended, it rained occasionally, thus forcing the volunteer teacher to halt their session and to send the kids to where they could be sheltered from the rain.

Notably, of these preschoolers, 20 of them graduated to join 43 other Tembari children in elementary and primary school around Port Moresby.

When Jovy visited The Center recently, she saw a group of preschoolers holding classes under the shade of the mango tree.

She told me that she would look for a sponsor who could help The Center build a classroom for these kids.

Finding Engr Ariel Parro later, Jovy made good her promise.

The K7,000 (US$2,500) would be used to buy timber materials, roofing sheets and others.

But of course, the amount would not be enough to build a structure
15m long and 4m, wide for a total area of 60sq meters. And with concrete floor.

Of this space, 12sqm (4m x 3m) would be used for dirty kitchen on the left end of the “building” and the other 12sqm (4m x 3m) on the opposite end would serve as TCC office.

During the past year, I cooked my special Saturday lunch for the 114 children in the open -- under the heat of the sun -- as we had no space, and even up to now, where we could relocate our dirty kitchen.

Hopefully, we could have one decent dirty kitchen once the new structure is built.

The rest of the space at the center of the building with a total of 36sqm would become the third classroom, to double as multi-purpose hall and a dining space for feeding activities.

Last night, I was lucky to talk to Engr Parro on his Blackberry.

He was in Kokopo, a small township on the island province of East New Britain, north-east of PNG, about 45 minutes by air from Port Moresby.

Engr Parro assured me that the K7,000 donation towards the school classroom project was just the start of his long relationship with the Tembari children.

“I would like to meet the children when I come down to Port Moresby next time,” he said.

Eng Parro has led the way towards fulfilling this little project of mine.

There could be some of you who would like to follow him towards making this worthy project a reality.

And I know, too, there are individuals who have the opportunity to help, only that they just don’t know where to look.

Just look towards Tembari, please. You will realize there are lots of things you can do for the children.

Helping to build a new classroom is one. Helping them get education despite their poverty is another.

Our target is K50,000 (US$18,000).

I am appealing to those who are financially well enough to give towards this project so the needed funds could be raised and the building erected ASAP.

This way, the third batch of our preschoolers would have a decent place to conduct their classes, without being bothered of getting soaked by the rain.

It is also a means for you to invest in their future – a bright future at that.

Email the writer: alfredophernandez@thenational.com.pg
On Facebook, please search for Alfredo Hernandez for the pictures of Tembari Children

Filipino Association of PNG donates K5,000 to Tembari children

A Friend of Tembari Children

A Friend of Tembari Children

JUST RECENTLY, I received a cheque for K5,000 from the Filipino Association of Papua New Guinea.

Joey Sena, who just concluded his second and last term as FAPNG president, told me his association has been aware of the Tembari Children and of their many needs.

That’s why when FAPNG decided to stage the Hatid-Saya Concert 2010 as a fundraising activity last September, the board did not think twice in naming the Tembari children as one of FAPNG’s two funding beneficiaries.

The other group was the Children’s Ward at the Port Moresby General Hospital.

Joey said the donation would help The Center with its daily operating expenses.

In his personal capacity, Joey also helped the Tembari Center in the past with some important donations like Wheelie bins, a product being distributed in the country by his company Universal Ventures Ltd.

A growing settlement-based care group with 114 beneficiary children under its care, The Center needs sustainable funding to carry out vital services like daily feeding activities, preschool education and other incidental expenses.

For about seven months starting March this year, The Center spent an average of K2,500 to K3,000 a month to run its day to day activities.

Of this amount, K1,200 went to the purchase of fresh milk that was served to the children everyday – from Monday to Friday. It was an item that made up the bulk of the monthly expenses.

Another set of monthly milk donation, which came from an executive at RH Group PNG, was served to the children, but only during the four Saturdays of the month.

The money TCC spent during the year came from cash donations from generous benefactors, donors and supporters, who, when they sent the money, said: “This is for your operating expenses …”

Because of such funding, The Center has become well-organized and, thus attaining efficiency, something unheard of from other 15 care groups operating around the National Capital District.

Penny Sagembo, founder of Tembari Children’s Care (TCC) Inc and secretary, expressed gratitude to Joey and his administration for finding merit in helping the Tembari kids.

Penny said a portion of the donation would go towards the building of a new classroom for its growing preschool program, which during the just concluded school year 2010, had 50 pupils.

“A third of our preschoolers (of 15-20 kids) held their class under the mango tree because we got only two classrooms at The Center …” Penny said.

As for me, FAPNG’s timely donation would help us launch The Center’s 2011 activities – all geared up towards enhancing the lives of the Tembari children through better nutrition that would afford them enjoy better health and through sustained education program that would help shape them into becoming better members of the community.

Thanks a million to you, Pareng Joey, and to the Filipino Association of PNG!

Email the writer: alfredophernandez@thenational.com.pg
On Facebook, please search for Alfredo Hernandez for the pictures of Tembari Children

Sunday, December 19, 2010

One Christmas day at Tembari Center, with Santa Fredo

Santa Fredo … Blogger Alfredo P Hernandez plays Santa to the 114 Tembari children during a Christmas hamper party on Saturday at the Tembari Children Care (TCC) center.

Piles of hampers beneath the Christmas Tree – all ready for distribution. (More pictures after story).

A Friend of Tembari Children

ON SATURDAY, I played Santa to more than 100 children -- my first ever in the 62 years of my life.

And rating it as a personal project which I carried out all by myself over a month-long period till the Big Day on Saturday, December 18, I wouldn’t be ashamed to declare it a cool success!

Well, it is a self-serving claim, you may say, but what the heck!

Well, the Tembari kids told me: “Great! ‘Fredo …! And I believed them.

And the volunteer mothers? They were just equally ecstatic: We’ve never seen anything like this before …”

Each of the 114 Tembari children received two sets of hampers of goodies plus a toy or clothing, something that I had never seen done by charity groups here in Port Moresby.

Each of the 10 volunteer mothers got their hampers, too, featuring a nice meri blouse, of which they said: “At last, I can now own a beautiful meri blouse.”

Of course, there were also a number of items that went with their hampers, including Ox&Palm, a corned beef product from Hugo Canning. But the meri bouse was the “big thing”.

For all the things that transpired on that day, it was the sponsors, with help from the Good Lord, who made all them possible -- a Christmas reality for all my children.

And the 15 sponsors of my Christmas hamper party were just as generous, led by Lamana Hotel, SVS mart, AutoZeal, and a household unit of the Couples for Christ (CFC) in Port Moresby led by Filipino expats Cesar Nunez and wife Celia.

When I told Lamana Hotel’s Big Boss Yiannis Nicolaou about this project, he immediately committed K1,000 (US$375), saying: I am also doing the same thing to our beneficiary children. (Yiannis is president of PNG Children’s Foundation which is supporting hundreds of unfortunate children in Port Moresby.)

The other sponsors are Hugo Canning Ltd, Pacific Industries, Paradise Business Consultants, Parklane International Trading, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the British High Commission, the troika at HiTron -- Lourdes, Jocelyn and Tony; Indian expat Sajani Kattapuram, Yes Ltd, Nationwide Constructions PNG and Rosa Yip.

The truth is, I approached (through email) more than 50 individuals and business houses for assistance in organizing this project.

But only 15 of them said “yes”.

And their generous sponsorships yielded three sets of hampers: CFC household composed of Cesar and Celia Nunez, Albert and Carren Barlift, Claire Tungol and Mary Laimo, delivered 120 sets containing mostly Philippine-made goodies while SVS produced 114 sets of toys and clothing based on the ages of the 114 Tembari kids that ranged from two years old to 18.

From the K2,300 (US$820) plus cash sent in by sponsors, I produced the third set of 114 hampers of assorted goodies (including chocolate bar, fresh apple and fresh orange) and other items incidental to the holding of our little party.

You won’t believe this: It needed 10 boxes of 20” x 20” boxes to contain all the hampers.

And I have to enlist AutoZeal, an automotive company in Port Moresby, to assist me in hauling off the goodies from my apartment at 3 Mile in Port Moresby to Tembari Center at ATS Oro Settlement, 7 Mile outside of Port Moresby.

I decided to treat my kids on this day to cheer them up this Christmas season before they go for a three-week break from school.

More importantly, the Christmas hamper party was also aimed at marking the first anniversary of my personal project – the Special Saturday Feeding Program – which I unwittingly launched on Boxing Day (Saturday, December 26) 2009.

Unwittingly, because I never thought that a one-day lunch cooking session with volunteer mothers on that day where I showed them how to cook a favorite Filipino dish called “arroz caldo” (rice porridge) would become a Saturday cooking event after that where I cooked mostly Filipino dishes.

And it culminated on Saturday with a nice lunch, capped by the serving of ice cream for everybody, courtesy of my good friend and workmate, Malaysian expat Nara Muniandy, who is, by the way, the production manager at The National newspaper, PNG’s No. 1 daily.

But this time, I did not cook the main dish of chicken stew as I had been very busy preparing the hampers; our lunch was catered by Hideway Hotel, courtesy of my good friend Don Manaloto, who learned of my plan for this little party. The nice chicken stew was a creation by Hideaway Hotel’s chef Gerry.

I only cooked a special soup which I called “ham/misua masala soup”, something that the Tembari kids had every Saturday.

The children could not just contain their excitement as we laid out the Christmas presents at the foot of our Christmas Tree, which was earlier donated by the family of Andre Potgieter and his friends.

A little kid, one of our preschoolers, came up to me as I was opening the first box of goodies: “Fredo … presents…?”

And I said: Yes.

Immediately, his two big eyes glowed, a very natural reaction from children who have come to know about Christmas and the gifts that come along with it.

Penny Sagembo, the founder of Tembari, and her husband Hayward, the president of the day care and orphanage facility, could not believe in what they were seeing as volunteer mothers put out the goodies and laid them at the base of the Christmas Tree.

“This is great … Fredo …” said Penny, who only expected a hamper each for the children.

“I couldn’t thank you enough for the great things to happen today to our kids …this is their first real Christmas …”

With everybody listening, she declared that with them alone, such an event will never take place.

As I have mentioned earlier, the Saturday special lunch cooking project is my personal activity for which I got the support of two sponsors every Saturday who paid for the cost of lunch.

I have always thanked my Lord because I did not run out of people who enthusiastically chipped in K200 each to help me provide a special meal to the kids every Saturday.

Those who have followed the progress of Tembari’s feeding program for its growing family, the children only ate four times a week (when I met the Tembari kids last December, there were only 78 kids; now it has grown to 114).

And that was Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and the food Penny and her volunteer mothers served the children were just kaukau (sweet potato), slice bread, veggies and cordial drink heavily diluted in ice water.

Now, our beneficiary children are having two meals a day Monday to Friday– at noon in the form of bread snacks for the preschoolers and in the afternoon as early dinner of rice, tinned fish and veggies for all the kids.

Thanks to our generous benefactors, supporters and donors.

Knowing how it is to have the same meal day in day out, I decided to pursue my Saturday lunch cooking to give the children something different and special for their lunch.

And I cooked this special dish myself at The Center, assisted by volunteer mothers who collected water from the village tap, which is anyway, dry most of the time, and those who collected firewood and prepared the cooking utensils I would need.

The volunteer mothers held their own party after most of the kids had returned home across the village.

They sang and danced and had a good serving of cake which I provided them as my way of thanking them for the help they provided during my Saturday cooking session which I religiously carried out without fail except when I had my yearly month-long work leave and had to go home to Manila; when I was held up at Gerehu Stage 4 one Friday afternoon last March when my car broke down shortly after picking up a donation of frozen chicken wings and beef brisket from PNF Freezers (in which I lost all the feeding money I collected that day), and when the same car conked out again recently just as when I was preparing for my Saturday cooking session and could not come to the settlement.

Don’t be surprised: My car is a 20-year-old junk Mazda 323 station wagon which I used to collect and deliver all donated goodies to Tembari Center.

Last Saturday was the culmination of this year’s activities at Tembari, marking the last feeding day for this year.

Penny and Hayward and their family will fly home to Popondetta for the holidays while the Tembari children will also be away from ATS Oro settlement to join their respective foster parents’ families somewhere in the country.

All activities at The Center, specially the preschool, will resume on Monday, January 19, 2011.

In closing, I would like to thank all individuals, business entities, groups and foundations that helped the Tembari Children found a new meaning in their lives.

They are still in poverty, but the experiences they had at The Center during the year 2010 made a big difference in their lives.

And The Center will work a little harder in the coming year, now that we have found our bearing with our benefactors, supporters and donors.

As for me, I would have to double my efforts to find new sources of food, money and materials to meet the growing needs of our children.

And will always pray for Divine guidance on behalf of the Tembari Children.

My prayers delivered all the things that transpired at The Center.

For instance on Saturday during the party, I received two pieces of great news from our supporters who would like to help our 114 beneficiary children further improve their lives.

I will write about them in my next blog.


Email the writer: alfredophernandez@thenational.com.pg
On Facebook, please search for Alfredo Hernandez for the pictures of Tembari Children

Santa Fredo enjoys giving away Christmas presents to his kids …

Blogger APH with his favorite Tembari girl, 10-year-old Melanie.

Penny Sagembo, Tembari founder, announcing to the children their Christmas break as volunteer mothers will take a three week holiday while children will be away from the village during the period. All feeding activities ended on Saturday and to resume on January 19, 2010.

Volunteer mothers hold their own party after gift-distribution.

Volunteer moms celebrating the Christmas season and rejoicing friendships they developed while serving the Tembari Children.

Volunteer moms sorting out the hampers while Hayward Sagembo, Tembari president, calling out the next beneficiary child to receive the Christmas present.

Wagi, the Ice Cream Man, dishing out cones of vanilla ice cream with choco bits. The frozen delight was donated by Malaysian expatriate Nara Muniandy, production manager of The National newspaper, PNG’s No. daily.

Tembari kids browsing the Christmas presents they received.

Tembari kids showing off their Christmas presents.

The trio of Melanie and her two friends with stuff toys and building blocks donated by the staff association at the British High Commission in Port Moresby.

Boys sipping ham/misua masala soup.

This young, mixed race Tembari girl has been abandoned by her Indonesian father.

Girl smiling for the camera.

Girl with piles of hampers on the table.

Moms cooking additional local dish for lunch.

Volunteer mom tending to special soup for the Tembari children especially prepared by blogger APH.

Tembari kids on their way home at the village after the Christmas hamper party.

Hamper of goodies

Camera catches girl by surprise.

Girls enjoying lollipops and cadies from the hamper.

Girls enjoy their ice cream in cones

Enjoying their ice cream in cone.

Ice cream queue.

The last of the ice cream scoops.

Boys proudly displaying their Christmas presents.

Penny and the volunteer moms singing a Christmas carol.

APH, a Friend of Tembari Children (center), is flanked by Hayward Sagembo, Tembari president (right) and Penny Sagembo, Tembari founder.-- Pictures by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ and NARA MUNIANDY.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Yearend report: Tembari 2010 -- A modest success dotted with setbacks

Tembari’s preschool children proudly displaying their picture books donated by SF Yong, director of Pacific Star Ltd, publisher of The National, the leading daily in Papua New Guinea. (More pictures after story).

A Friend of Tembari Children

AS the Tembari Children Center (TCC) steered across the gulf of 2010, it picked up some success and hit a glacier of setbacks.

We succeeded in the following areas:
1) Feeding program
2) Education program (preschool, elementary and primary levels)
3) Food assistance from donors, supporters and benefactors
4) Funding support from donors, supporters and benefactors
5) Improving operational capabilities as day care facility
6) Small seed money/livelihood assistance to our volunteer mothers; and
7) Elimination of food line during daily feeding program; food is served on the dining tables

We suffered setbacks:
1) We just lost the K400 monthly food assistance from WeCare! Foundation. Starting 2011, The Center will no longer get the money needed in its daily feeding activities.

2) Worse, we also lost the school fee assistance from WeCaRe! for our 63 schoolchildren in the elementary and primary levels for the school year 2011. Total cost: K9,450. (I will discuss the K400 feeding assistance and school fee issues in a separate blog.)

This is a big blow to our 63 children in the elementary and primary levels as they will have to drop out during school year 2011, and hit the streets again unless I am able to find a new sponsor to cover their school fees to keep them in the classrooms.

Twenty of these kids finished preschool this year at The Center and are supposed to be in Grade I next school year.

3) We are unable to get power connection to The Center although PNG Power has continuously promised to link us to its grid at ATS Oro Settlement. It looks like it will not happen year.

4) We are still trying to build our water supply facility comprising a 1,000-gallon synthetic plastic tank and the connection to the main water mainline of Eda Ranu at the settlement.

The materials for this important facility – cement blocks, cement, sand and gravel, water tank and piping -- were provided by RH Foundation, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Ltd and Eng Joselito Buenaventura of New Zealand.

Right now, work is in progress and we expect to install the water tank and the needed piping connection before the year is over.

But since the Eda Ranu’s water pressure at ATS Oro Settlement has continuously remained low, keeping the whole village dry for most of the day, we doubted that water could reach our water tank facility at all.

5) We are unable to build the third classroom for our 50-60 preschoolers as the promised donation of building materials like timber and roofing sheets has not materialized as of now. The cost of this project: K7,000 plus.

So far, two sets of our preschoolers with combined members of 40 kids hold classes in the classrooms and the third class are being taught their numbers and ABC lessons under the mango tree.

6) We are unable to pursue our poultry project aimed at generating income to boost our feeding program. Reason: We did not have sufficient supply of water required to raise 45-day chicken. So the half-completed poultry house was then dismantled.

7) We are unable to start our small livelihood program producing “meri” dresses because the needed electricity to run our sewing machines has yet come to The Center. This project aims to help some village mothers earn some money for their family needs.

9) We are unable to conduct a medical mission for our beneficiary children, although we targeted the month of November for this event. The doctors and nurses that should have been able to help us realize this could not jibe their time.

WHEN I FIRST met the Tembari kids last December (2009), there were only 78 of them benefiting from the Tembari feeding and educational program.

As of today, there are 114 children under our care, an increase of 36 over the last five months.

Over this period, in short, we succeeded in saving from the clutches of the village streets 36 abandoned, orphaned and neglected children and enlisted them into our programs.

So these days, we are feeding at the most 114 mouths 24 days a month – from Monday to Saturday. Considering the number, the amount of food required was quite substantial.

Every day, our volunteer mothers would cook 12kgs of rice and would prepare at least 20 to 27 tinned fish (425gms) to feed the children.

The food assistance that we have been getting is quite substantial and this enabled us to improve the children’s diets.

This was bolstered by a flour donation from Lae Biscuits of two tonnes of whole meal flour and another batch of biscuit flour of 10 50kg bags. This enabled our volunteer mothers to bake bread for the children everyday for their noon snacks after their morning preschool classes were done.

In the afternoon, all of the 114 kids share an early dinner or rice and tinned fish cooked with veggies, cordial drink and fresh milk.

Our feeding program, shall we say, is the most successful among the 16 soup kitchens operating in and out of Port Moresby. Of this number 11, including The Center, received each a K400 monthly assistance to their respective feeding program during 2010.

With the measly monthly K400 grant WeCare! had provided, the 10 other feeding programs could only feed their respected beneficiary children two or three days every week.

Others could only serve food five days in a month. The K400 monthly grant could barely pay for the food needs of the children, but the village mothers operating the soup kitchens could not do anything but grumbled.

Fr John Glynn, the operator of WeCaRe!, is determined to keep the amount that way – whether or not the soup kitchen has five kids to feed or 100.

During Tembari’s more than seven years of existence, starting from 2003 when it was founded by Penny Sagembo as a hand-to-mouth soup kitchen, it did not enjoy funds that would allow it to feed its wards properly.

From 2003 to February 2009, Penny used her own funds to feed more than 50 children at least twice a week.

However, from March 2009, Tembari began receiving a K400 monthly feeding grant from WeCaRe! upon the recommendation of Digicel Foundation, which saw the merit of Penny’s effort to improve the nutrition of her children-beneficiaries – the abandoned and orphaned children from the settlement.

However, this assistance, which went on until the end of this year, has been discontinued starting 2011 over reasons that I would discuss in a separate blog next week. I feel that it deserves a separate discussion.

When I decided to join Tembari Center last January, I promised the officers – TCC president Hayward Sagembo and his wife Penny, the founder -- that I would help them find food, money and materials for the children.

Thanks to my Lord, I have managed to do this, with modest success.

So, from a hand-to-mouth existence of a feeding program in which it could only afford to serve the children four times a week – that is Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, where the children were served only kaukau (sweet potatoes), sliced bread, local greens and cordial drink, The Center’s soup kitchen has become a five-day affair (Monday to Friday), feeding the children twice a day – noon snacks of freshly baked bread and early dinner of rice, tinned fish, fresh milk and cordial drinks.

And on Saturdays, a special lunch is prepared for them that usually consisted beef, chicken or fish fillet, veggies, rice, special soup, fresh milk and cordial drink.

I myself did the cooking right at The Center, using ingredients paid for by two sponsors, with each one chipping in, at first, K150 for a total of K300.

However, since three months ago, I requested my Saturday sponsors to raise their sponsorships to K200 each to cover the cost of inflation. Foodstuff has become costly in Port Moresby that the usual K300 that I would budget for every Saturday feeding could no longer meet the cost of the Saturday lunch.

The Saturday feeding has become my personal project for the Tembari Children and does not use funds from the coffers of Tembari.

I decided to do this to give my children something different to eat every Saturday and as a special treat, I also prepared special soup, something they have looked forward to every Saturday.

Our daily feeding program was made possible by continuous inflow of rice every month from regular donors, along with tinned fish donation that mostly came on one-off basis. That’s why I kept on looking for donors to provide this foodstuff.

The regular tinned fish donation from RD Tuna of 10 cartons a month, which only begins this month (December), would only cover 10 days of feeding, making it an urgent necessity for us to buy tinned fish using our funds to cover the remaining 10 days in our Monday-to-Friday feeding program.

We also received a generous supply of fresh milk from the British High Commission. Lasting for about six months, the BHC milk assistance enabled us to provide the kids fresh milk from Monday to Friday.

Another fresh milk donation from an executive at RH Group enabled us to serve the children milk during the four Saturdays of every month.

Along with this, Supermarket SVS, since last September, has been providing the Tembari children 10 cartons of flavored milk (40 packs of 200ML per carton for a total of 400), enough to cover the children’s milk needs for four days, at the rate of 100 packs a day.

We have a regular monthly allocation of four cartons of cordial drinks from Pacific Industry, enough to cover 12 days (Monday to Saturday).

And for three months from last August, we received a donation of eight cartons a month of cordial drink products from Coca-Cola Amatil. I intend to solicit from CCA again the same quantity of supply for next year.

Once in a while, we also received a donation of fresh marine products – frozen fish and frozen prawn – from High Energy Co, a fishing company based in Port Moresby.

Since we don’t have readily available drinking water at The Center, I requested two water bottling company – The Water Company and Parklane Trading International, the bottler of Aqua Five – to provide us drinking water every Saturday. Their purified water donations have been going on since middle of this year.

To help with our daily operational cash flow, Pacific Towing Co based in Port Moresby has been providing Tembari with a monthly grant of K400 since January this year.

The PNG Children’s Foundation has been paying for the K300 monthly allowances of our three volunteer teachers at our preschool. Each getting K100 each, they needed some assistance for their daily bus fare in coming to The Center.

Of late however, they requested to increase their monthly stipend by K70 each, an amount we have to get from our monthly petty cash funds.

Early this year, our volunteer teachers walked out for several weeks as we were unable to pay for their K50 fortnightly stipend.

PNG Children’s Foundation came to our rescue by extending us the K300 monthly grant to cover their allowances.

Funding assistance

DURING the year 2010, The Center effectively received a total funding assistance of K49,500 from various donors that included the Malaysian Association of PNG (K15,000), the Indian Association of PNG (K2,000), WeCaRe! (K4,800 as feeding assistance), Pacific Towing Ltd (K4,800), PNG Children’s Foundation (K2,700 for teachers’ allowances), British High Commission (K7,200 for milk assistance) and from an executive of RH Group (a personal donation of K3,000) and lately, from Maxine Angiga, one of this year’s Women in Business (WIB) awardees sponsored by Westpac bank, (K10,000).

We also received a school fee grant of K5,000 plus from WeCaRe! for school year 2010, which went straight to the 11 elementary and primary schools where our 42 children were enrolled. So, it did not go to our bank account.

Of the K49,500, The Center spent about K29,500 during the 12-month period this year at an average of K2,450 to K3,000 a month.

Last week, the Tembari’s bank account with Bank South Pacific showed a balance of K20,000 after withdrawing the last K3,000 which has been budgeted on operating expenses for the month of December.

Being one of the three signatories to the Timbari cheques, I made it sure that the items covered by the spending were proper and necessary.

Of the K20,000-bank balance, K10,000 represents what has been left of the Malaysian Association grant received early this year, while the other K10,000 comes from Maxine’s funding donation -- the funding grant she received from Trukai Ltd owing to her winning the WIB award.

Trukai awarded Maxine K10,000 on the condition that she donates the amount to a charity of her choice. She chose Tembari Children Center to receive the grant to help it support its programs for the year 2011.

We are reserving the remaining bank balance of K20,000 to fund the improvement of our facilities and acquisition of new ones.

It we used half of this to fund our children’s school fees for 2011 amounting to K9,450, we would be left with nothing but K10,000, which could be used up in just three months under or monthly spending exercise.

Having used it up, the immediate result would be drastic slow down in activities at The Center, especially those involving our paid volunteer mothers.

We would have to drop them, leaving our preschoolers high and dry and the entire feeding program in disarray as, like we have found out, there would be no mothers these days willing to do volunteer jobs in our soup kitchen knowing that we are getting funding from somewhere.

This we can’t afford to happen as it directly affects our services to the children who, during the past 12 months, have experienced tremendous changes in their lives in terms of care and attention they had received from us. And most of all, a change for the better in their daily nutrition.

Truly, The Center has become their second home where they have been treated like family.

The K2,450 to K3,000 monthly cash flow went to tinned fish, cooking ingredients that included food seasoning, veggies; teachers’ allowances, volunteers allowances (for three volunteer mothers who prepare the daily meals), The Center administrator and caretaker’s allowance. A few hundred kina went to administrative expenses.

The presence of an administrator has been crucial to our operations. Wagi, the administrator, has seen to it that our food supplies and other materials and The Center’s facilities are well looked after.

And to ward-off any unwelcome individuals to The Center’s premises such as village trouble makers and unscrupulous individuals who could be eyeing our food stocks.

Our biggest monthly expense went to the purchase of fresh milk at the rate of K300 a week to cover the milk needs of our 100 to 114 beneficiary children from Monday to Friday. The British High Commission’s funding for the milk program totaling K1,200 was transferred to Tembari’s bank account every month.

The six-month milk assistance, however, ended last October. Because of this, I am now looking for new donors.

Otherwise, we would be forced to tap from our funding balance the amount of K1,200 a month so that our milk program would not be interrupted, an affair that would greatly deplete our funds.

(Another regular milk donation from an executive at RH Group covered the milk needs of the children for the four Saturdays of the month.)

Fr John Glynn, patron and founder of WeCaRe! Foundation, in his December 2010 newsletter, has credited Tembari Children’s Care (TCC) for its being a “well organized” care group.

And Marina van der Vlies, chief executive of Digicel Foundation, one of our benefactors, said that Tembari has progressed over the last 12 months by leaps and bounds, and is miles ahead of its counterparts in Port Moresby – all these reflected better services to our beneficiary children.

We reached this level in our operations during the year because of the generous assistance from our benefactors, donors and supporters in terms of funding, food assistance and materials.

An organization of this size like the Tembari needs a management that would ensure that our resources – food, funds, materials and facilities – are better looked after and sustained.

It also requires adequate funding to carry out its programs that cater for the present and new needs of our beneficiary children.

So far, we have both of this in modest extent because our benefactors, supporters and donors have made it possible during 2010.

I hope and pray that we could do much better next year – all for the sake of our children.

And all would depend on how willing our benefactors, supporters and donors would be to continue helping the Tembari children during 2011.

And lastly, I firmly believe that transparency in our operations would draw sustained patronage of individuals, business houses and institutions.

During the year 2010, transparency in dealings with our benefactors and supporters has become our assets – the source of our strength.

And with utmost transparency, we will pursue our goal of improving the lives of the Tembari Children by serving them with tender, loving care that only a home like the Tembari Children’s Care center could give.

Thank you and Merry Christmas to All!

Email the writer: alfredophernandez@thenational.com.pg
On facebook: Search for “Alfredo Hernandez”

Children reading books while waiting for lunch to be served on Saturday.

Tembari boys carrying firewood.

Tembari kids doing a clean up at the Tembari premises.

Kids having lunch of minced beef and soup on Saturday, during a special feeding session.

Young girls enjoying their lunch last Saturday.

Children reading books while waiting for lunch to be served on Saturday.

The water tank that is waiting to be installed.

Penny Sagembo, founder of Tembari Children Center (TCC) Inc busy cleaning up The Center's premises on Saturday.

Friday, December 10, 2010


From this side of the planet, in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, the 114 children of the Tembari Children Care (TCC) day care center and orphanage are wishing everybody who cares and who doesn't a heartfelt Christmas. We thank our kind-hearted benefactors, donors, supporters and friends and those who find us burdens of humanity for thinking of us one moment or so and for keeping our spirits afloat

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tembari children frolic under the sun

The Tembari contingent comprising 97 kids enters the picnic venue led by three kids proudly displaying the Tembari Children Care logo banner. The last batch among 13 other delegations to arrive, our kids made a dramatic entrance, drawing attention from everybody. They made up the biggest group that attended the picnic party. (More pictures after the story.)

A Friend of Tembari Children

ON SATURDAY, the Tembari children attended a Christmas picnic.

They came in full force as they showed up at the Christmas outdoor party organized by WeCaRe! foundation at the Taurama Leisure Center at 3-Mile in Port Moresby.

It was a gathering of more than 500 abandoned and orphaned children from 13 soup kitchens operating in settlements outside Port Moresby.

Arriving last at the picnic ground, the 97-member Tembari contingent made a dramatic entrance led by three kids who proudly displayed the Tembari Children Care (TCC) Inc banner bearing its crudely designed logo.

Theirs was the biggest group among the 13 feeding programs that had been invited by WeCaRe! foundation. The truth is that eight of the 105 children invited were unable to attend for one reason of the other.

The Tembari group comprised orphans, abandoned and neglected children at the ATS Oro Settlement, at 7-Mile outside of Port Moresby.

The whole affair was bankrolled by Digicel Foundation, the charity arm of cell phone provider Digicel PNG.

Last Saturday’s outdoor party was their first and last for the year 2010. In December 2009, they were also invited to a similar outdoor Christmas party by WeCaRe! and Digicel Foundation.

The Tembari children had never had an opportunity during the year to go out of the settlement to have fun except for the Taurama Christmas picnic party.

It was a day of frolic for the Tembari kids.

So it was not surprising for them to be seen all over the place to the chagrin of their monitors – the volunteer mothers who were assigned to control their movements at the picnic ground premises.

Digicel Foundation really made it memorable for all of the children who came to the party.

There were more than enough hotdogs, cordial drinks, fresh apples and ice cream. And parlor games.

Anchored by Miss Digicel, one group of Tembari kids joined a parlor game called balloon race participated in by four other groups, and won the contest during the second set. Our kids were awarded a packet of lollies.

And the chance of meeting Santa Claus became a new experience for many kids – they were scared and they grimaced to a cry upon meeting face to face with the red-suited, white-bearded man who wore a red cap.

Each of the children received Christmas presents – schoolbags with some kiddy stuff inside.

Apparently, Digicel Foundation has planned it this way because the schoolbags would be useful in the next school year.

In a statement, founder and patron of the WeCaRe! foundation Fr John Glynn said during the party: This is a special treat for the many children from settlements and streets who are orphaned, abandoned, neglected and who feel rejected and unloved.

“WeCaRe! foundation strives to create such a vision where children and women in these situations through support and care can become, good, decent, valued and productive citizens of PNG.”

Digicel Foundation chief executive Marina van der Vlies said: We are proud to be supporting the WeCaRe! foundation’s work in helping disadvantaged children around Port Moresby.

“We believe that our continued support of WeCaRe! will go a long way in making this Christmas a special occasion for all those children who may not get a chance to celebrate otherwise.

“We will do our best to put a smile on every child’s face this Christmas with the Digicel Santa and his helpers on hand with a bag full of surprises for all the children,” said Ms van der Vlies.

Easily noticed, it was only the Tembari contingent that brought lunch food to the party – which was anyway consumed by the members of the group, after having cordial drinks and hotdogs, courtesy of Digicel Foundation.

The Tembari lunch was sponsored by Nanga Medical Center, Hideaway Hotel, Pacific Industries and Aqua 5 (purified water). The food was partly funded by WeCaRe!.

When Don Manaloto, the Filipino expat general manager of Hideaway, learned of our outing last Friday, he immediately instructed his chef (Gerry) to prepare pastries and bread rolls for the 105 children.

I picked up two boxes of the foodstuff on Saturday morning straight from the hotel kitchen and drove them off to the picnic venue.

But the Tembari children’s presence at the party would not be possible without the biggest assistance that they had received on that they -- a 25-seater yellow shuttle bus provided by AutoZeal, an automotive company based in Port Moresby.

AutoZeal chief executive Bernard George told me that he did not want our children to miss this important event in their lives, especially when they would celebrating with other unfortunate children the joy of the Christmas season.

A day before the picnic party, Mr George asked me if we had a driver for the shuttle bus, and I told him “none”.

It was quite a problem because that day – a Friday – none of the company drivers was available –meaning they were away and could not be contacted until early in the night.

But Mr George promised to me that there will be a driver by next morning as he scrambled to know where his missing drivers were.

He knew it was a Friday, and the usual Friday sickness among Papua New Guinean workers was at work again.

True to his word, Joseph, one of them, finally showed up to carry out the job of shuttling the Tembari kids from The Center at the settlement to the picnic party venue and back home, later in the afternoon.

When I meet him just before 8am, Joseph was sprucing up his yellow bus, making sure his little passengers would all be comfortable during the 20-minute trip to the picnic venue from the settlement.

And he had to make three trips to bring them all to the party. And back home.

So all is well that went well.

Email the blogger: alfredophernandez@thenational.com.pg
Facebook: Search for Alfredo Hernandez for Tembari pictures

The entire picnic venue is dotted by red tents from Digicel PNG, a cell phone provider.

Blogger APH with the kids while waiting outside of the picnic venue for the third batch of kids to arrive from the settlement.

The 25-seater yellow shuttle bus provided by AutoZeal, an automotive company based in Port Moresby, PNG.

The shuttle bus leaves Taurama picnic venue after the party.

Tembari kid Melanie, 8, with Santa Claus. She receives a Christmas present – school backpack.

Blogger APH poses in front of a kiosk while waiting for the Tembari contingent tent to be installed by Digicel staff.

Fr John Glynn (center), founder and patron of WeCaRe! foundation with Marina van der Vlies, CEO of Digicel Foundation and a friend.

Hayward Sagembo, TCC president, and Fr John Glynn.

Penny Sagembo (second from left), manning the Tembari foodline.

Tembari kids meet Santa Claus after which they receive their Christmas present of school backpack.

A boy getting his face painted.

Two Tembari girls display their face painted with “I Love Digicel” slogan.

Miss Digicel toys with her red balloon.

A balloon race participated in by Tembari kids. Miss Digicel is seen at the end of the line, signifying that this group wins the game

Tembari kids crowding over the ice cream man.

Tembari kids display their Christmas presents from Digicel Foundation – school backpacks. Seated in the front row are preschoolers while those in higher school levels are at the back.

The Tembari logo banner proudly hangs in front of the tent. – All pictures by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ