Sunday, November 14, 2010

Silent support from the community for Tembari Children's Care center

A Friend of Tembari Children

THE community at ATS Oro Settlement outside of Port Moresby has now given its tacit support to the Tembari Childlren Care (TCC) center.

It has realized that whatever assistance The Center gets from outside goes straight to the benefits of the 98 children under its care. And that they are being used effectively.


Outside means the PNG-based expatriates from the Malaysian, Filipino and Indian communities and several individuals from other nationalities, such as white South Africans and Australians.

When they gave support to the Tembari children, they did not set any criteria nor ask any question.

All they wanted to see is that their assistance reached the Tembari children at once to alleviate their plight, especial hunger.

And their assistance which came in cool cash went to the children’s everyday food, materials for The Center and others that went to boost its facilities.

On the other hand, the members of the community – parents in particular – now believe that aids from the European Union will not improve the lives of the underprivileged, particularly their own children who are also beneficiaries of some charity-focused groups (not the Tembari) operating right in the village.

These facilities are right now struggling due to lack of support – money or otherwise. And they want to bring their children to The Center for the services, which could be flattering but not yet for now.

Why? … you may ask of the EU.

The answer is that all the aids that the EU is sending to Papua New Guinea for the benefit of its unfortunate sector of the society are not reaching in full to the intended beneficiaries.

Why? Because the funding grants that are supposed to help many organizations whose target clients are the society’s underprivileged in rural areas and in settlements stopped dead for good at middlemen’s offices – those foreign consultants who decide how the money should be dispensed with.

And these middlemen are making it hard for everybody.

Because the dispersal of such aid is hindered by lots of criteria that intended target organizations like the Tembari Children Care (TCC) would unlikely meet.

The truth is because of such impossible criteria, lots of community-based organizations (CBOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other charity-focused groups are unable to avail of such funding assistance – until now.

These include some 17 feeding programs, or soup kitchens, across the National Capital District (NCD), or Port Moresby, PNG, which are mostly operated by illiterate village mothers who can’t even construct a simple sentence in English.

How much more writing a glossy feeding program that requests for such a funding assistance and at the same time meets such criteria?

No way.

Right now, these 17 soup kitchens, including the Tembari Children Care, service more than 500 orphans, unfortunate, abandoned and neglected children.

And these are the very same target-client that the European Union had in mind when it decided on how much assistance PNG should get for its own deprived members of the society.

But unscrupulous EU consultants have found a way to make fun of such a huge funding grants from European community – they put up their own charity-focused groups in PNG, of course, manned by their own compatriots who could easily design programs that could easily meet the criteria these consultants have set for PNG’s own charity-oriented organizations.

And thus, get the funds like they just walked in the park.

But do these funds reach the sector that the EU had in mind when it decided to send the money to PNG?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Now, the community at the ATS Oro Settlement have somewhat received an education for themselves when it comes to the operations of the Tembari Children Care (TCC), or The Center.

Believing at first that its operations are being controlled by husband and wife team Hayward and Penny Sagembo, they ignored it completely, branding it as fly-by-night affairs.

And even spread gossips around the village that the couple was pocketing whatever money sent to The Center. Not true.

Penny co-founded The Center in 2003 but never received any support until last January when I decided to join the facility – as A Friend of Tembari Children.

And as months went by (the last 10 months), the community came to realize that Penny and Hayward are just the facilitators of every assistance in the form of foodstuff, cash, materials and others that came, and still coming, to The Center.

And that they are not kidding with their efforts to feed the Tembari children, unlike other soup kitchens in the village which, until now, are still unable to feed their own children on a regular basis despite their logistics.

The community is now seeing clearly that assistance seems to TCC comes without interruption and each one is coming directly from the Malaysian, Indian and the Filipino community along with several others individuals from other races who willingly gave.

It was a far cry from what these EU consultants are doing. They are sitting on the assistance money, trying to figure out how to nibble on it through the back door just like rats.

News reports had it recently that the EU decided to cut down on their PNG consultants because almost half of the money intended for PNG target clients went into these consultants’ salaries, perks and many expensive pursuits and contingencies, but never for the benefits of PNG’s deprived sector. And the other half remains stashed in their bank accounts -- barely unused for charity.

At The Center, we continue to survive with consistency even without these foreign grants, particularly that one from the EU.

But foreign grants are always welcome and in fact, I am trying to network in the US just to reach some funding groups who would understand the plight of the Tembari children.

And would-be funding sources would not be disappointed with how the Tembari Children Care (TCC) center uses its funding grants to further the well-being of its 98 beneficiary children.

That’s how good we are in seeing to it that our children benefit from your assistance.

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