Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Center gains new ground

A Friend of Tembari Children

THE previous Sunday, a tractor-grader came to The Center to reclaim a small land area from the hillside at the back.

The Center’s property is 3,000 square meters wide, covered by a 99-year lease.

Half of the land area rises to a hill, thus depriving the facility of badly-needed ground space for future facilities like basketball court, volleyball court and mini-soccer ground.

We also seek to erect a modest building that would become The Center’s permanent home. Well, this is a long-term, long-shot project almost impossible to realize, what with the amount involved (any donor?).

Right now, it has no place to call home in the form of a building structure except for the two community learning centers (CLCs) which Digicel Foundation donated sometime last year to serve as classrooms and office-storage space.

The CLCs are none other than old two 20-footer container vans fashioned into a classroom which our 45 preschoolers are now using.

Thanks to our modest fund in the bank, courtesy of generous donors that included the Malaysian Association of PNG, WeCare PNG and Pacific Towing and the British High Commission, we are able to afford the services of a tractor-hire company, which worked on our backyard for five hours, carving out a level ground from the hillside.

The job cost The Center K900.

This is one of the developments at the premises of The Center that continuously receives support from various entities and individuals.

For now, we needed a decent playground for our active children beneficiaries. The older kids love to play soccer, netball and volleyball and the new paved ground would provide them the needed space to do their thing.

Our athletic children have asked me if I could buy them soccer ball, netball and volleyball – at least two pieces of each item – which they can play with on weekend right at The Center’s premises instead of going far into the village where a playing field sits.

I promised them I would look for people who will provide these items.

We have players enough to form a team for soccer, netball and volleyball. Because of this, I wanted them to join the Pikinini sports competition to give them exposure by playing with other kiddy teams all over Port Moresby.

Our eldest player is around 13 year old and they really can play. We think we have winners in our kids.

And of course, not to be left out, our preschoolers love to play as well under the sun after their morning classes. But their games would just involve running around The Center’s premises.

We have enough space for seesaws, slides and monkey bars – playground facilities that we can ill-afford.

But the need for these is quite urgent as our preschoolers are getting active everyday and needed outlets for their energy.

Maybe one of you could help us find potential donors for seesaws, slides and monkey bars for our beneficiary children to play with everyday.

Seeing those playground facilities around Port Moresby being enjoyed by so many children – all put up by the city government – I had encouraged Governor Powes Parkop to donate to the Tembari children similar facilities.

But knowing that there are no votes to generate from spending on such facilities for the Tembari children as their parents are either dead or missing in action, Gov Parkop has conveniently ignored my request.

On the other hand, if ever he would bring one to the settlement, it should be for public use – for the use of all -- and not the exclusive of the Tembari children.

But donation to the needy children without expecting PR windfall and spending on public facilities where children of living parent-voters could enjoy anytime of the day and thus, earn some political points towards the next election, are two separate things.

Well, I am calling on the readers of this blog to help us acquire the needed sporting tools like balls and volleyball nets so The Center’s athletes could start formal training through the help from a village sport coach.

I can tell you we have a winner of a team from our athletic children.

I can tell you also that our little children want to experience playing the seesaws, slides and monkey bars. It could be a new phase in their young lives.

Hayward Sagembo, TCC president, points to the ground that was paved by a hired tractor.

A portion of the ground that has been reclaimed from the hillside.

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