Sunday, October 31, 2010

Parents at ATS Oro Settlement realize we are not kidding

A Friend of Tembari Children

PARENTS at ATS Oro Settlement have finally realized we are not kidding with our daily feeding program for the 97 children under our care.

Funny, they have realized too that it is the Salvation Army unit based at the settlement that is kidding itself.

While the local Salvation Army unit could only manage to feed its beneficiary children three times a week with so-so meals despite the enormous resources it has, courtesy of its rich donors here and overseas, the Tembari Children’s Care (TCC), or simply The Center, gets on with its own feeding session twice everyday – Monday to Friday and once on Saturday.

As to why the Army could only feed is kids three times a week with so-so meals despite its wealth is something for Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

At noon, we serve our 45 preschoolers with our very own bread baked by our volunteer mothers, which comes with cordial drink.

At 4-5pm, we serve our entire family of 97 kids with dinner rice, tinned fish and veggies, cordial drink and fresh milk.

We do this because we know that when they go home to their foster parents for the night, the kids could not always expect to have food.

On Saturday, the kids eat decent lunch which is sponsored by two individuals.

Here, each one chips in K200, for a total of K400, which I use to buy ingredients that would go to children’s lunch on Saturday. I do the cooking of the food myself with help from 10 volunteer mothers who collect water, gather firewood, clean kitchen tools and more.

That’s why these parents who have children being looked after by the Salvation Army would want to join The Center because with us, the daily food for their children is assured.

These parents are the same group of settlement residents who have been spreading lies about the Tembari Children Care (TCC), especially with regards to funding.

that the people behind The Center – Hayward and Penny Sagembo – are using the Tembari children to receive funding support.

Which is quite obvious, don’t you think so? Without the kids, who will give us food, money, materials and other things?

Worse, they have been spreading lies that Hayward and Penny are pocketing the money.

This is one absurd allegation that I vehemently deny.

Being the one signing the cheques that funded all of our daily spending at The Center for a total cost of K3,000 a month or so, I knew where every toea went

For all you know, I would scrutinize all proposed spending before I would sign a cheque.

For the month of November, I have just signed a cheque for a little over K3,000. This money would go to our tinned fish buying, allowances of our three volunteer preschool teachers, ingredients for the daily meals, miscellaneous and administrative expenses, fresh milk purchases, water bills and a lot more.

Don’t be surprised: Except for the WeCaRe! grant of K300 a month that goes into the daily feeding program, which I consider a measly amount but still convenient, all the money that went into to the bank account of The Center occurred bbecause of our efforts to market the future of the Tembari Children to potential donors and supporters.
We continue to market their future because it has value that value that could attract “investors”. They are investing in the future of these children who are the future leaders of Papua New Guinea.
This we did it through my blogsite where I would tell the stories about our beautiful children. And readers would respond positively with a pledge of assistance to the kids.

It goes without saying that I look after our money – that it is well-spent – for the benefits of our donors who would like to be assured that their funding grants are effectively benefiting the children.

When the Salvation Army man who runs the settlement unit failed to deliver his promise that the kids would be looked after properly, especially with regards to the daily feeding program, the parents started shifting sides and towards The Center.

And when The Center recently launched its modest livelihood assistance program for the 10 mothers who are doing volunteer work for the Tembari children, more parents from the other side started to gravitate towards us in the hope that they would also benefit from our services.

In fact, they wanted to register their kids with TCC so they could also benefit from our feeding and education program.

But the said children do not qualify under our criteria as they are not abandoned, they are not neglected, they are not unfortunate and most of all, they are not orphans. They all have a set of two living parents, but as to whether they are financially able, is another question.

So, I told Penny and Hayward to ignore them because they are just plain opportunists.

Right now, there is a small group within the community bent on stopping the Tembari Children Care center on its track by spreading black propaganda against it.

They are also trying to harm Penny and Hayward through “puri-puri” or black magic, believing that once they are harmed, The Center would collapse.

In one of their desperate schemes, they tried to hijack our kids by including them in their rosters so that they would have a long list of children to show to potential donors and institutions giving funding grants.

And they have tried to discourage our children from coming to The Center to enjoy food that we serve everyday – especially the Saturday lunch.

That’s why the number of kids who show up every Saturday would fluctuate from a low of 65 to a high of more 100 (these would include some gatecrashers which we opted not to drive away from the dining table.)

But those children who have enjoyed food with us knew better. When they met with their village friends, the only thing they talk about was food at The Center, which they said was good and for everyday at that.

So the kids have decided which place would give them better services. They chose The Center despite their guardians’ threat to punish them. But the kids are hungry and their tummies right now are the ones to be followed.

In short, their hungry stomachs rule them over.

Well, of the 17 feeding programs going on around the National Capital district (NCD) with most of them based in the settlements, only the Tembari Children Care has managed to free itself from the common predicament of being a hand-to-mouth affair.

Right now, The Center is miles away ahead of them, with more prospects of support from individuals and corporate entities who find merits in what we do for these unfortunate kids.

Even Marina Vander Vlies, CEO of Digicel Foundation, noted that The Center has progressed by leaps and bounds since early this year, while the other soup kitchens have remained lethargic for lack of support.

This is one reason why a lot of feeding programs are green with envy because of the generous support The Center is getting from individual and corporate entities as well as foundations – a wealth that they have failed to tap for one reason or the other.

They have yet to discover our secret why we continue to draw new supporters every month.

But this secret is an open story: Our benefactors, supporters and donors have found the Tembari Children Care a credible community -based organization (CBO) that is fulfilling an important role in the community, something others have yet to duplicate.

And now, our critics and detractors are finally realizing this and would want to join the party.

But I am not one to let them in.

Secondly, our resources – food, money, materials and facilities – could only support a family of at least 100 children (by the way, we have just welcomed a pretty young orphan girl – about 15 -- whose relatives have tried to sell her to some moneyed landowner – a form of child abuse which we are fighting against, thus increasing our wards to 98).

The Center’s positive effects on the lives of its children have become possible because our benefactors have decided to buy a stake in their future.

With this alone, our kids can look forward to a better life many years from now.

Email the writer:

No comments:

Post a Comment