Sunday, January 23, 2011

60 new kids join Tembari’s preschool program; rainy days are here

Hayward Sagembo, president of Tembari Children Care (TCC) Inc, pointing to a space where the proposed classroom-multi-purpose hall will rise. (More pictures after story.

A Friend of Tembari Children

THIS school year, 60 children from the settlement are joining Tembari Children Care preschool program.

Of this, 20 are our target beneficiaries. Meaning, they are orphans and abandoned whom we are mandated to help.

Each of the rest of 40 kids has a complete set of parents who are able enough to provide for their basic needs.

These 40 will come to The Center for preschool program, which is also part of the facility’s services to the community at ATS Oro Settlement at 7 Mile outside of Port Moresby as a community-based organization (CBO).

But still, these 40 new kids would share with the noon snacks that we provide to our beneficiary children.

Simply said, we would have to include them in our Monday-to-Friday feeding program budget because we can’t turn them away while our own kids enjoy their noon break snacks.

To us with meager funds, these 40 kids are additional mouths to feed.

Anyway … the new entrants bring to at least 100 the number of preschool children to be serviced by The Center this year.

This doesn’t include the 62 other children who are now in the elementary and primary school levels.

Last year, our preschool program graduated 20 children and they move up to the elementary level as Grade 1’s.

However, all of our 62 schoolchildren are not yet sure to enroll this year.

We don’t have the money and we have not yet found a sponsor who would be able to pay for their school fees amounting to K9,450.

The WeCaRe! foundation, who last year paid for their school fees (40 schoolchildren), simply dropped them from its school fee assistance program this year.

Reason: Ex-Irish priest John Glynn, the foundation owner-operator, has maintained the Tembari Children no longer deserve his support as they are getting lots of money from corporate donors and individuals.

My reaction: Extremely false ... it is something he has to assert on to justify his sacking of the Tembari kids.

Each year, Digicel Foundation gives Glynn lots of money (last year: K270,000) to help unfortunate kids like those at Tembari pay for their school fees and certain charity endeavors.

I would say depriving a group of unfortunate children like the Tembari kids of much needed help and rejecting them as helpless children per se is one of John Glynn’s biggest failures as head of a foundation and as a religious man.

I read somewhere that our Lord Jesus said: “If you rejected these children, you have also rejected me.” Well, it sounded something like that, but I believe it’s very close.

Anyway, I am still scouting around for a potential school fee donor or donors on behalf of 62 kids of Tembari.

Any taker?

Right now, we are experiencing a population explosion at The Center.

We are looking at 160 beneficiary children, who are sure to put a big stress on our meager resources, especially food supply. The fact is that as of December 2010, we only had in our roster 114 kids.

And last year, we only had about 50 preschoolers, who were grouped into three classes. One class had 15 children, while another had 20.

I can see an overcrowding in the classroom when the preschool classes open next month.

With close to 100 preschoolers now in our roster, two classes would have at least 35 children, who will be assigned a volunteer teacher.

The third class would have 30, also under a volunteer teacher.

Two classes will hold daily sessions inside classrooms while the third batch will be holding theirs under the proverbial mango tree.

Since wet days have begun, the outdoor class would always have problem every time it rains.

Last year, the outdoor class kids had to be sent home every time it rained because The Center could not shelter them from the downpour.

So this year, it would be a problem again and it has to be dealt with.

That’s why we are about to start building a multi-purpose structure of light materials that would house the third classroom.

The new one-floor building measures 15 meters by 4 meters with concrete floor and iron sheet roofing. It is also designed to house a small office of 3x4 meter and a dirty kitchen of the same area.

The structure would at least cost K50,000 to build.

Already, a Kokopo, East New Britain-based engineering company, AP Engineering Ltd, has donated K7,000 to kick-off the project.

Its managing director, Engineer Ariel Parro, would be providing the basic structural design of the classroom project.

Now, here’s a personal appeal:

I’m appealing to corporate groups, institutions and individuals for support in this preschool classroom project.

It’s only through you that the Tembari children would be able to advance in their quest for preschool education.

It is only through you that a modest classroom for at least 30 preschool kids would be built at The Center. Their days of holding daily class under the tree should now end.

And the rainy days have begun.

Just imagine them scampering for shelter whenever it rained while they were doing their class work.

If you think you are able to support this project, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Help us raise K50,000 – all for the Tembari Kids.

My contact numbers are 3246-712 (office landline at The National newspaper) and 72231984. Or you can email me at the addresses below.

Tembari’s preschool children busy with their picture books inside their classroom.

Children excitedly posing for a souvenir shot with their picture books.

Penny Sagembo, TCC co-founder (center,) presides a meeting with volunteer teachers and mothers to prepare for this year’s program of activities at The Center.

The two classroom used by Tembari preschool children. The space they provide is no longer enough to accommodate new pupils. The third preschool class of about 30 children are holding their class under the mango tree in front of the two container vans. (All pictures by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ)

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