Monday, June 21, 2010

Stakeholders in Tembari children’s future

A Friend of Tembari Children

WHETHER they knew it or not, individuals who spent money to sponsor the Saturday special feeding gig for the children of Tembari Children Care (TCC) have become stakeholders in their future.

And entities, which could be foundations, associations or business groups that provided funds, foodstuff, goods, services, materials and basic facilities to promote the welfare of these kids, have now a stake to claim in what the kids would become from here on.

The logic is simple: They paid for the kids’ food because they wanted them to enjoy a specially prepared meal – in this case, lunch.

They wanted them to have a meal rich in vital nutrients their tender bodies need for their day to day growing-up.

In short, these sponsors wanted to see these kids grow healthy and strong, and most of all, alert and intelligent.

On the other hand, donors of materials and basic facilities like simple tools, cooking utensils and implements wanted The Center to do its job with ease and efficiently, because by being able to do so, it furthers the interest of its beneficiary children.

But this is a long process, just like that of a growing young tree that would need thousands of sunshine days and breezy nights before it could become a great tree for every nature lover to admire and every lumberjack to behold.

Good food has a way of making this a reality. And more so with the good education that should start at their very young age.

Every time an individual or an entity extends help, be it in terms of funding or goods that would include foodstuff, clothing, medicines, books, pencils, writing pads, book readers, basic facilities and materials, he earns for himself a piece of a proverbial building brick.

Yes, my friend, it is this brick that would help build the foundation of the moral, intellectual and health edifice that would eventually make these kids useful and productive citizens of Papua New Guinea.

Our generous benefactors, however, would not be satisfied with holding just a piece of this brick.

They would want to acquire more of this because they wanted to see THAT an edifice is built from them and rise with them.

And in so doing, they are making certain that their stakes in these kids’ future are deeply buried deep into the ground, making them unshakable, safe from being uprooted.

They are aware that a single brick would remain just an ordinary piece of manufactured stone unless it is laid together with others and become a wall so strong enough to withstand the rumbles of doubts caused by those who did not believe in caring for these needy kids.

And I believe there are thousands of them across this country, including this white man who runs a timber company in Madang. He told me bluntly in his email: “I will never support what you are doing.”

But his tribe, anyway, will decline over time, I’m pretty sure of this, as it would vanish from consciousness of a caring humanity, and be consigned later to hell – the flipside of an uncaring heart.

On the other hand, our benefactors needed to pile up more bricks in order to build.

So what would they do to earn more bricks and eventually, a passage to the young hearts of our children?

Nothing, except to continue helping however difficult or cumbersome it may become later. It is in bleeding from one’s generosity that the gesture of helping becomes truly heaven-like.

Benevolent individuals know this; in more ways than one, they wished to bleed some more in the name of love for those in need.

For now, it is easy. But as the years go bye and the growing of these kids goes on, more resources have to be opened up to sustain their needs and make them shape up into individuals truly acceptable to our community and society as a whole.

We will look up to them as the next generation of future leaders.

The success of The Center in bringing about a good person in every child under its care is also the success of every stakeholder in this noble undertaking.

They are no different from well-meaning parents who put up big gamble in the future of their own children.

They would do anything to see to it that their child grow into someone who is caring, loving, respectful, healthy, intelligent and most of all God-fearing -- someone who is useful to society and a great son or daughter that humanity would be proud to cuddle.

The tasks of parenting are always difficult, demanding and resource-exhausting.

But such doesn’t deter them because they know they are investing in their future and their stakes are just too great for them to fail.

The Center’s benefactors are, more or less, well aware of this.

Like many parents out there, they don’t want to fail for the sake of the kids-- that is the Tembari children.

For as long as they could, they would give the Tembari children their best so that each of them could claim a rightful place in our society.

Yes, years from now.


Over a span of four months from February 2010, I managed to tell to certain entities and individuals the story of our lovely kids, of the many things they need to be able to live normally as children.

We never felt awkward asking people and institutions to help our kids, in the same vein that they – those who found this rare opportunity to help – did not feel awkward dipping into their pockets to bring out their kindness through their cash.

Following the lead of Digicel Foundation and We!Care PNG, they decided to become our benefactors and stakeholders in the Tembari Children’s future.

We are proud to present them to you:

1. Pacific Towing Ltd
2. John Whitfield
3. High-Energy Co Ltd
4. Ox & Palm (Hugo Canning Co Ltd)
5. Papua Niugini Freezers (PNF)
6. Malaysian Business Council (MBC)-Malaysian Association of PNG
7. Coral Investments Ltd
8. The Water Company
9. RH Foundation/ RH Group of Companies
10. British High Commission
11. PNG Children’s Foundation
12. Yes Limited
13. Pacific Industries Ltd
14. RBP Trading Ltd
15. Philippine Ambassador to PNG Hon Shirley Ho-Vicario
16. Celia and Boy Nunez
17. TJ Khoo (The National)
18. Nene Sta Cruz (Integrated Devt Services (IDS)
19. Anonymous exec from RH Group
20. Nanga Medical Clinic
21. Universal Ventures Ltd
22. Royal Papua Yacht Club
23. Andre Potgeiter
24. RD Tuna Cannery
25. Aqua Five (Bottled Water)
26. Nanga Medical Center
28. Ms Elaine, RBP Trading Ltd28. Several individuals/companies who sponsor our special Saturday feeding program: Nara Mundiandy, The National (permanent Saturday sponsor); CC Ang, RH Trading; John Francis Villalba, Pacific Industries (permanent Saturday sponsor); Robert Palomo, Red Sea Housing Construction Co (Qatar-PNG LNG) [permanent Saturday sponsor]; Albert Rocero, Coral Investments Ltd (permanent Saturday sponsor); Yes Ltd; Orly Alvarez (Transport Dept, RPNGC); SF Yong (Pacific Star), Rey & Lulu Lambo (permanent Saturday sponsors); Saturday Choir of RH (PNG) Group; Thomas Kuo

29. 29. Diane McLea (Miami, USA); David Ulg Ketepa (Michigan, , USA); Kubs Lalchandani (USA); Dr Younan (Palm Beach Surgical Center, California); Mike Gerber & Nancy Freitus (USA); Mr And Mrs R (USA); Ron Rutledge (USA);

30. 30. The mom-and-dad volunteers who cook for, and look after the needs of, the kids and the teacher-volunteers who see to it that their wards learn the numbers and alphabet.

(Our sponsored Saturday lunch for the 83 Tembari kids costs only K150.00 per person, which covers a special meat (fish or chicken) dish, veggies, steamed rice and cordial drink. Some had given more, allowing us to give the kids a generous heap of the day’s lunch. A rare bonus to the sponsors, along with the bricks they earn each time, is that I personally cook the dish, giving it a personal touch. And as they earn a brick, each of our benefactors also earn a passage into the heart of the Tembari kids, which is also a prepaid ticket to Heaven.)

RH Group executive director Nathan Ho and president of the Malaysian Association of PNG explaining to TCC volunteers, children and guests why the Malaysian community decided to help The Center with its finances. The MAPNG donated a cool K15,000 for the benefits of the 83 children under its care.

Malaysian High Commissioner to PNG Datin Blanche Olbery praising The Center for the good services it provides to the unfortunate children, and promised to help them in more ways than one.

RH Group executive director Ivan Lu (left) with VIPs from the business community Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail of Malaysia, Maybank vice-president Victor Tan and Nathan Ho witness the presentation of cheque donation to The Center.

A heap of scrap timber which was donated by Sarco Timberyard to The Center for its firewood needs.

Dinolla Tion, PR executive at RH Foundation, presenting ato Hayward Sagembo, TCC Co-Founder and Director, on behalf of an executive at RH Group.

Tembari children at lunch. They no longer fall in line for food but instead, they waited at the dining table for their meals to be served. In short, the food line is now a thing of the past as far as The Center is concerned.

Private air hostess Diane McLea meets the Tembari Children for the first time last March.

At least 42 children chairs were donated by RH Foundation to The Center for children’s use in their classrooms.

Volunteer cooking assistants behind three huge pots donated by a benefactor. – All pictures by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ

Email the writer:

Those ‘crabs’ in the village

This is the bus stop at the end of PMV No. 16 route at ATS Oro Settlement, 7-Mile, on the other side of the Jackson Airport, where some idle village mothers play card the whole day. The bus stop is just opposite The Center’s premises on the other side of the road.

The mothers in this idle bunch are spreading nasty rumors against The Center which, ironically, is paying for their own kids’ fees in elementary schools in Port Moresby.

These three hungry kids are among street children which the bus stop mother-idlers have prevented from coming to The Center– by telling their guardians not to let them come to the daycare-orphanage facility. Last Saturday, they again waited on the other side of the road for a volunteer of The Center to come and ask them to come for food.

Finally, they took off from their perch after TCC volunteer came up to them to let them know they can come over for lunch with the Tembari kids.

The Tembari Children Care (TCC) center across the road where thevillage bus stop is located. So everyday, the bus stop mother-idlers are constantly watching the goings-on at The Center for bits of news they could gossip about around the village, including foodstuff like rice, fresh milk and tinned fish from generous donors and sponsors. – All pictures by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ

A Friend of Tembari Children

DESPITE the modest but visible progress The Center has achieved in just over six months in terms of services it provides to less-fortunate children and in generous assistance from various sectors of the Papua New Guinean society, the “crabs” at the settlementwhere we operate are hard at work to malign and bring us down.

These “crabs” are no one but good-for-nothing mothers and fathers whose only business in life is to play cards the whole day at a bus stop just opposite the Tembari Children Care center at Oro ATS Settlement at 7-Mile, outside of Port Moresby.

I likened them to proverbial crabs in a basket because they try to pull down the one that succeeds in getting to the top to reach the brim and thus, escape captivity.

There are many orphans, neglected, abandoned and abused children around the settlement and they are the very same children that The Center would like to help.

Already, we are looking after 83 of these children whom we feed every day and provide pre-school education five days a week to half of them, while looking after the school fees of the rest who attend classes at various elementary schools in the city.

The Center wants them to escape their poverty by providing them food, education, parental care and other extras that would boost their well-being.

But these mothers and village gossips want them to remain as they are just like them – being mired in hopelessness of their own making.

These card-playing street mothers and fathers are themselves inflicting similar abuse to their own children by failing to look after their basic needs.

For how can they look after their own if they are at the bus stop playing cards and gossiping the whole day?

Worse, they have prevented a number of unfortunate kids in the settlement from receiving The Center’s daycare services by telling – and threatening them -- not to come to us.

A number of children who earlier came to The Center for the daily feeding program and for the pre-school classes have not returned up to these days because of these bus stop idlers.

They have been telling guardians of these orphans, neglected, abandoned, vulnerable and abused children that the brains behind the facility – couple Hayward Sagembo (Co-Founder and Director) and wife Penny Sagembo (Co-Founder and Co-President) – are just using the kids for their own financial gains.

In plain simple words, Hayward and Penny are pocketing whatever funds that come to the bank account of Tembari Children Care (TCC) from generous donors such as the Malaysian Association of PNG (MAPNG).

This is a blatant lie and I can personally attest to that.

Believing such a lie, some guardians have actually pulled their kids out from The Center, although they (children) wanted to come for the daily feeding program.

This is no surprise. They were hungry as they had always been as there was no food at home for most of the time and that they are missing their pre-school classes The Center provides from Monday to Friday, with help from three volunteer teachers.

The fact is that these gossiping parents who are also guardians of orphaned children have kids of their own benefiting from The Center’s education program.

The facility had paid for the school fees of their children so they would be admitted into elementary schools around Port Moresby. And yet, they have the temerity to spread lies about The Center around the settlement.

Last Saturday, 80 kids came for the special Saturday lunch out of the registered 83. We were told that the guardians of the missing three children went somewhere in the city, tagging them alone.

But still, we served lunch to 83 children because there were three non-member street children who came later. Although food was running low when they arrived, we still served them lunch and asked them to come everyday for food. They will be profiled soon afterwards for our records.

The truth is that these three kids long wanted to join The Center, themselves being orphans and are therefore qualified to receive benefits, but they were told by the card-playing mothers to stay away from The Center for the same reason they have been spreading around the village – that they are being used by the Sagembos to make money.

What these useless parents are doing is a clear act of abuse against the unfortunate, orphans, abused, neglected and abandoned children.

This is abuse because they are depriving these children the rights to decide for themselves to go to where they would find some help, like the daycare services The Center offers to children like them.

Under the Lukautim Pikinini Act (LPA), these mothers are liable because what they are doing is a violation of this act which protects said children from such kind of abuse.

Community and Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu said that under this act, the rights of every child are protected.

Dame Carol said the LPA specifies the nine underlying rights of a child, which are: guiding principles, best interest of a child, parental responsibility, harmful customary practices, harmful employment and child with disabilities.

Hayward knows too well why these mothers are working against The Center despite the many benefits it provides to the 83 children now under its ward.

“They are just plain jealous … their children used to go to another daycare facility at ATS Oro Settlement but the said facility could not provide anything to their kids like daily food and education because it appeared spurious to funding assistance institutions.

“That’s why they are hitting us back …” says Hayward.

On the other hand, the assistance The Center gets keeps on coming, especially food, which is the very basic item a feeding facility needs to accomplish its mission.

“Before, we could only feed the children four times a week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday … and that was only with kaukau, sliced bread, food garden veggies and cordial.

“Because of the assistance The Center is getting now like rice, tinned fish and fresh milk, we are now able to feed our 83 children rice and protein every day, from Monday to Saturday.

“Similar fly-by-night facilities at the settlement have failed to do this as donors stayed away from them simply because they are not credible enough to get such funding assistance and have nothing to show,” Hayward said.

He said they allegedly tried to “pirate” the children from The Center so that their list of orphans and unfortunate children could grow long, which they would show to funding institutions for assistance.

But so far they have been unsuccessful, says Hayward, “that’s why they are trying to destroy us by using these mothers whose business is to play cards at the bus stop every day and spread gossip about us”.

But on a happy note, many guardians of these unfortunate children continue to look up to The Center.

Run by trustworthy couple like Hayward and Penny, the guardians knew that the facility is not fly-by-night operations just like those trying to operate now at the settlement.

With dignitaries like the Malaysian High Commissioner to PNG, the representatives from the British High Commissioner and VIPS from the business community visiting The Center to bring funding assistance along with food supplies and other stuff, and with the RH Foundation providing what it badly needs like water system and many others, it is clear enough the facility is one place to be trusted and deserving of all support it requires to accomplish a noble mission of helping the unfortunate children live a normal life.

Very clearly, the future of the 83 Tembari children is in good hands.

As they say, nothing can ever destroy a good intention. And The Center’s only intention for its being is to look after children that needed its help. Nothing more.

By the way, their number is growing everyday.

Email the writer:

The evolution of The Center’s dirty stove

A cooking-assistant mother tends to a Filipino dish while a nice flame burns out of the junk oil drum dirty stove. This was the very first stove used by The Center to cook meals for the children under its care.

A volunteer mother stirs the steaming dish being cooked on a three-rock dirty stove, to complement the oil drum cooker.

Sagembo, Co-Founder and Co-President of The Center, checking the dish being cooked using a makeshift timber stove. A 30-liter pot in which a special soup was cooked on the same stove almost toppled after the timber stove burned out, without the cooking assistant noticing it.

The newly-installed cement block stoves, which proved to be more stable and efficient in making fire. – All pictures by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ

A Friend of Tembari Children

FIRST, it was a crude, tall stove fashioned out of a junk oil drum, which is quite common among homes in settlements and villages.

This was when The Center’s volunteer mothers were only cooking kaukau, food garden veggies and tinned fish for the kids four-days-in-a-week feeding, which used to be Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

And that the volunteers assigned to cook lunch were only using small pots. Those days in December 2009, there were only 78 kids under The Center’s care. Now we have more than 80 and the number is growing.

When I joined The Center on Christmas Eve 2009 and referred to myself not a volunteer but as A Friend of Tembari Children, my first self-imposed task is to cook a special dish for the kids – a favorite Filipino dish macaroni soup which was fitting for the day being December 24, a Saturday.

(My second self-imposed tasked is to look for people who would give the children funding, food, facilities and vital materials that would help The Center run the daycare-orphanage facility efficiently and thus, deliver the services to the kids effectively.)

My first self-imposed tasked actually started what I now call “special Saturday feeding” because I cooked special dish from Filipino recipes, and whose ingredients were being sponsored by friends and individuals.

When I cooked this macaroni dish, I used that makeshift cooking stove which was the junk oil drum stove.

The following Saturday, New Year’s Eve, I cooked another favorite Filipino dish called “arroz caldo” – rice soup with lots of chicken meat, cube carrots and green peas --- and required a second dirty stove to cook another dish while doing the rice-soup (arroz caldo)

This second stove was fashioned from three medium-size rocks that huddled close together in a triangular form, on top of which sat the second cooking pot to handle another Filipino dish.

So on that day, we cooked the Saturday lunch for the kids using two dirty stoves – the oil drum stove and the three-rock stove.

Realizing that my Saturday cooking could make a difference in the diet of the children, I decided to look for sponsors – people who paid for the ingredients of those special lunch meals.

I was not happy with the rock stove because one of the three stones whose shapes were irregular could just topple, and tumble to the ground my 25-litter pot boiling with a nice soup.

So, just very recently, I told my cooking assistants to look for two pieces of thick timber with rectangular size. I told them this could replace the rock stove.

These two pieces of wood appeared stable as they sat firm and flat on the ground. However, as the cooking progress, the flame tended to burn into the wood stove until it became firewood in itself.

I saw this thing happened while the timber stove burnt out with no one from my cooking assistant noticing it.

The 25-liter pot of soup could have collapsed to the ground if not for the timely action of one of the volunteers who happened by the kitchen area.

He immediately lifted the whole pot and carefully sat it on the ground just next to the burned out timber stove.

Sometime ago, Filipino expatriate Albert Rocero of Coral Investment, donated a set of LPG cooking stove to help us prepare our dishes more efficiently.

He had seen our pictures as we struggled with our cooking using the makeshift stoves.

However, the two-burner stove was only designed for smaller pots. I tried to cook 10kgs of rice in a 30-liter pot but it had not boiled even after almost an hour.

So these days, we just use the LPG stove when we have to cook in small pots.

Last week, I requested Hayward Sagembo, the TCC Co-Founder and Director, to find me four pieces of cement (hollow) blocks and why. I told him.

Hollow cement block stoves are very common in the Philippines, especially when a dirty stove is needed to be set up in the backyard with all that haste.

Last Saturday, I got two new sets of dirty stove – each cooker using a pair of two cement blocks. They complemented well the junk oil drum stove in which used to cook 10kg or rice.

My hollow cement block dirty cookers sit firmly on the ground. Even if an earthquake rumbled across PNG, my giant pots boiling with nice dishes for the kids’ lunch would happily sit on, prettily unshaken.

As my latest Filipino dish – “paksiw na isda” (reef fish cooked in vinegar, ginger roots and garlic) – was boiling atop my hollow cement block dirty stove, I could not help but admire the wild flame cooking it, thanks to firewood donated by Sarco Timberyard, and how the sweet-sour flavor my dish tasted in my palate.

Email the writer:

Monday, June 14, 2010

No more food line at Tembari Center

Food line is now a thing of the past. The Center has finally eliminated this system of serving food to the children. These days, the beneficiary-children are now served meals at the dining table. This food queue picture was taken last March.
These kids are not at a party. They’re just relaxing while waiting to be served their lunch last Saturday. Background shows their classroom.

Children having a grand time at the dining table while waiting for their lunch. This time, they no longer have to queue for food as it is being served to them right on the table.
Kids at the dining table as they enjoy a special Saturday lunch of deep fried mackerel stewed in fresh chopped tomato-egg gravy, sauted bellfruit veggie and minced beef, mackerel head sour soup with malunggay leaves, cordial drinks and fresh milk. The Saturday lunch was sponsored by two supporters who chipped in K150 each.
Melanie, 8 (in red shirt), briefly poses for camera, before resuming her lunch.
Assistant cooking volunteers tending to two pots of rice (left) and mackerel dish.
Volunteer mom blows hard into the embers to make fire.
Assistant cooking volunteer Shalotte struggles with 10kgs of steaming rice.
Volunteer moms preparing to serve lunch of the day.
Volunteer mother serves fresh milk to excited children.
Children look at the enlarged pictures of their generous benefactors displayed on The Center’s bulletin board. One picture shows the Malaysian High Commissioner presenting a K15,000 cheque to Hayward Sagembo, TCC Co-Founder and Director.
Melanie, 8, timidly looks at the camera, with her thick fresh milk moustache.
Kids play with their building blocks while waiting for lunch.

Penny leads the kids in saying Grace before lunch is served.
A volunteer allots fresh milk to each of the tin cups.
Penny Sagembo, The Center’s Co-Founder and Co-President, interviews new entrants to The Center for their profile record. Today, TCC has 83 registered beneficiary-children who are benefiting from The Center’s services like feeding and education program. – All pictures by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ

A Friend of Tembari Children


FINALLY, we have achieved a hundred percent improvement in the feeding set up at The Center.

Where before our beneficiary-children waited in a long queue for their meal, they now instead waited at makeshift dining tables for food to be served – just like in dining halls or restaurants.

Indeed, we have eliminated that heartbreaking scene of food lines in a soup kitchen like ours.

This is no doubt welcome news for our generous benefactors who have unyielding belief that The Center would one day succeed in improving the lives of its 83 beneficiary children.

That’s why they continue to give.

Eliminating the food line physically is one good start. In the subconscious of each of our kids, it was a long chain that had kept them bound to their poverty and made their lives miserable each day.

Not anymore.
Since 2003, when the Tembari Children Care center was founded, by Rishabh Bhandari, Penny Sagembo and Hayward Sagembo, until just a few days ago, the food line and its sad air had become a permanent fixture.

The kids used to be in long queue, their heads craning towards where the pots of steaming dish sat on a makeshift table, and obviously hungry, if not extremely famished.We had pledged to ourselves that we would change this picture for the better one day.
This is one reason we have never stopped looking for people who would give The Center money, food, materials, facilities and other forms of assistance so it could effect positive change in the children’s day to day living.

And to make sure that those who gave one way or the other would never stop giving till they bleed.

For we know that there were many generous souls out there who were looking for opportunities to help. And they are now looking at the Tembari kids as an opportunity.

Well, the first visible change came just a few days ago.

What has taken over this scene is a picture of kids nestled in their respective chairs at the dining table, merrily engaged in kiddy chatters and endless bantering with one another, while volunteer moms happily prepared their meals in individual bowls – rice, especially prepared Filipino dish – and cordial drinks and fresh milk.

As always, during my Saturday cooking-and-feeding session, cooking volunteer moms are always in high spirits, knowing that the food they would be serving to the kids shortly is another special treat.

Would you believe that for a long, long time on weekdays that is from Monday to Friday, they would normally have rice and tinned fish and veggies.

And even before this, they only had lunch four times a week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, making do with just kaukau, sliced bread and cordial drinks.

And they did not sit at dining tables while they ate their food, but squatted on the floor of their classrooms, or on the ground topped only with anything like floor mats or old newspapers to protect them from dust and dirt.

Things have changed for the better for our kids.

So everybody looks forward to my Saturday cooking, where the ingredients and materials that go into this special dish are sponsored by individuals who wanted to give the kids something different for a lunch meal on Saturdays.

Each co-sponsor for a Saturday feeding happily chipped in a minimum of K150 each. Some would give more to allow me to cook more food to the kids.

In fact, this is how our dining scene should be!

It was something that immediately struck me last Saturday as soon as I saw our kids happily seated and waiting for the meal and soup of the day.

And I likened this scene to those jolly kids I saw at a Wendy’s, MacDonald’s or Jollibee’s fast-food restaurant in an upscale shopping mall in Metro Manila while devouring delicious snacks and soda drinks.

We had thought of doing this long time ago because we knew how it was to be in a food line --- hungry and speculating on what meal to come next for the day.

But banishing the food queue became possible only just a few days ago.

When RH Foundation delivered recently the 40 or so kiddy chairs that that we requested sometime last March through my good friend Dinolla Tion, the foundation’s PR officer,Our request for the said kiddy chairs was actually intended for use in the classrooms. But as we asked, the idea popped in the mind of Hayward Sagembo, TCC’s Co-Founder and Director; that we could use these chairs for class rooms as well as alongside the dining table. So, these days, the chairs are working double time as classroom and dining chairs.

On the other hand, Rishabh Bhandari, TCC’s Founder and Co-President, contacted a few of his contacts and one of them donated a few sheets of plywood’s, to top the frames of what used to be junked table frames that were just lying around The Center’s premises.

Now, these discarded metal table frames have been given a new lease of life and are now serving as classroom writing desks and dining tables.

Cooking for these kids and seeing them enjoy at the dining table and not somewhere else their meals of rice, special dishes, cordial drinks and fresh milk intoxicates my heart twice over.

Truly, we have deleted for good one nasty scene of our children’s poverty from their daily picture album.

Email the writer:

Malaysian High Commissioner is amazed by Tembari children

Ivan Lu, RH Group executive director, is welcomed by one of The Center’s volunteer mothers with a garland.
The Tembari children perform a nursery song for the visitors led by Malaysian High Commissioner to PNG Datin Blanche Olbery (left).
Nathan Ho, RH Group executive director and president of the Malaysian Association of PNG displaying a dummy cheque for K15,000 which is a donation to the Tembari Children Care daycare-orphanage center. Ho is flanked by (from left) Ivan Lu, Hayward Sagembo, TCC president; Victor Tan, Maybank vice-president; Datin Olbery and Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail, a Malaysian investor-businessman.
Close up of Maybank dummy cheque for K15,000.
Nathan Ho addresses the children while holding a dummy Maybank cheque for K15,000 which is donated by the Malaysian community. (photo: highcomm addressing kids)
Datin Olbery addresses Sagembo along with the Tembari children and volunteers.
Hayward Sagembo addresses the High Commissioner and the members of her entourage.
Hayward Sagembo signs the document for the turn over of the K15,000 cheque.
VIPs all … (from left) Ivan Lu, Datuk Dr Salleh, Victor Tan, Nathan Ho and Datin Olbery.
Cheerful children stand behind a stack of goodies donated by the Malaysian community.


A Friend of Tembari Children

SHE CAME. She saw. Then she was conquered.

Malaysian High Commissioner to PNG Datin Blanche Olbery went through this emotional journey while visiting The Center for the first time.

She had a special errand from the Malaysian community to carry out: To deliver a generous assistance to the Tembari children in the form of a cheque for K15,000.

The cheque was received by Tembari Children Care Co-Founder and Director Hayward Sagembo, who expressed profound thanks to the Malaysian people in PNG for their concern to the Tembari kids.

Sagembo assured their benefactors from the Malaysian community that the funds will be used towards improving the lot of the children.

The amount was part of more than half million kina raised by the Malaysian Association of PNG through the MBC Charity Golf fundraising held recently. The rest of the amount had been allotted to a few selected charitable institutions in the country.

And the Tembari Children Care (TCC), a daycare-orphanage at ATS Oro Settlement, 7-Mile, NCD, was among the chosen ones.

Datin Olbery was amazed to see the kids – our kids – and was immediately smitten by them, the way a visitor from the US, private air hostess Ms Diane McLea, felt when she met them personally last March.

The High Commissioner felt her heart lifted as she listened to the children serenading her with Papua New Guinean nursery songs.

In a brief address to the children and volunteer workers, Datin Olbery said the Malaysian community was just too happy to help a facility like the TCC.

And that she was honored to have personally delivered the assistance straight to the children.

Datin Olbery noted the visible good things The Center was doing to improve the lives of the children under its care – that is from giving them education, feeding and giving them the much- needed parental care.

For all you know, these 83 kids are composed of orphans, neglected, abandoned and the vulnerable. The only place for them where they could feel being loved and cared for is The Center.

Datin Olbery was also aware that the funding assistance from her community will go straight to the 83 beneficiary children under TCC’s care.

She said the many things like food and facilities that The Center would acquire using the funds would greatly improve the set up at The Center, boost its efficiency in delivering services to kids, and thus make the much-needed positive changes in their lives.
“I’ll try to find ways to help them in my own way,” she told after the brief cheque presentation, referring to the kids.

Incidentally, Datin Olbery brought with her a special guest, a distinguished businessman from Malaysia, Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail.

She invited Dr Salleh to come along with her to The Center to give him an idea on what assistance the Malaysian community was giving to children.

Back in Malaysia, Dr Salleh owns Meatworks, a diversified meat company engaged in restaurants, meat delicacies, butchery and outlets for choice-cut meat products.

In the country to find investment opportunities, he told me the The Center was doing a great service to the children and hoped that one of these days he would be able to help.

Another distinguished visitor who came with the High Commissioner was Maybank (PNG) vice-president Victor Tan, who was curious as to what the Tembari Children Care facility was all about.

And maybe, after having a personal encounter with our children during the visit, Mr Tan would also join the growing number of people who right now are helping the Tembari children improve their lives.

In fact, RH Group senior executive director Ivan Lu, who urged Mr Tan to visit The Center and see the kids, told me he (Mr Tan) could also be a potential benefactor – for whom I am keeping my fingers crossed.

The visit was also graced by another RH Group executive director Nathan Ho, president of the Malaysian Association of PNG. He immediately supported Ivan in his proposal for a K15,000 funding assistance to The Center.

Ivan, who is chairman of MAPNG organizing committee, and Nathan, made it possible for the Tembari children to receive a generous amount from the Malaysian community.

In fact, this money is now working hard for the good of the Tembari children.

And personally from me, and from everyone at TCC : Thanks a million for your kindness to our children. You have just taken up a big stake in their future.

Email me:

The Center’s generous visitors

Children proudly show off their bar of soap and ID tags hangers donated by Digicel Foundation.
Kids displaying tin mugs while sitting on new classroom chairs -- two items donated by RH Foundatioin.
Kid displaying his milk moustache.
Kids enjoy their milk.
Volunteers preparing fresh milk for the kids. Milk has been donated by the British High Commission and an executive at RH Group.
Kids while they tinker with building blocks sent by business executive Andre Potgieter.
The kiddy chairs, courtesy of RH Foundation.

A Friend of Tembari Children

OVER the fast several days, The Center received four groups of visitors who brought with them some goodies for our kids.

For instance, a team of Digicel Foundation staff made a quick look-see and handed out to each of the kids bars of soap as part of their hygiene training, which starts with regular washing of their hands.

Then, a team from RH Foundation also came to hand over 42 white kiddy plastic chairs for their classrooms and 30 large tin cups for their soup, which is served every Saturday when a especial lunch is cooked for them. (I do the cooking, of course!)

The 30 cups will complement the ones we already have, paid for by Robert Palomo, a Filipino executive at the LNG project, who is a permanent sponsor of my Saturday lunch especially-cooked for the kids.

The RHF team was headed by Dinolla Tion, public relations officer.

The third group that came was composed of staff from the British High Commission, led by Suzanne Laister, assistant to the British High Commissioner.

A once-in-awhile-Center visitor, Suzanne’s group distributed workbooks, ball pens and stationery for the children.

Of course, the British High Commission is also sponsoring the children’s Monday-to-Friday fresh milk supply, while the Saturday milk is being provided by a generous executive at RH Group, along with a monthly supply of rice.

The previous Saturday, business executive Andre Potgieter and his colleague Elaine, also an expat executive, drove off to our Center to deliver three boxes of toys – plastic building blocks.

The kids really enjoy these ones as they were something new for them.

Elaine also told me that the Aviat Club of Port Moresby, to which she belongs, will start to fundraise for our kids.

She said for every drink bought by members and guests, five toea (K0.05) would be set aside for Tembari Chidlren Care’s children.

This is great! Knowing that expatriate members of the Aviat Club enjoy drinking till the night wears out, I could only imagine how fast Elaine could raise a lot of kina for us.

Let’s toast to that, mate …!

By the way, Andre is also making sure the kids have enough food by supplying us with rice once a month to complement another on-going monthly donation, courtesy of an executive at RH Group.

So, things are looking up for our kids at Tembari Center.

There would always be opportunities for you, dear readers, to further improve the lives of our kids.

And I can tell you one thing: No amount of money or assistance is too small to give out; for the Tembari kids, every bit of help that comes their way is always one that overflows with kindness, generosity and humanity.

Discovering this for themselves, the visitors who came to The Center were just too happy for being able to help.

Those who will come later or sooner would find this out, too.

No doubt about it.

Email me: