Sunday, March 6, 2011

Commitments from supporters

Guests who came to Tembari’s open house to mark the facility’s 8th year anniversary on Saturday. From left: Digicel Foundation’s senior program manager Meghan Sullivan; real estate executive Dadi Toka of Toka Real Estate; Hugo Canning Co’s general manager David Slape; and development executive Maxine Anjiga-Aruwa. (More pictures after story.)

A Friend of Tembari Children

WE were unable to draw the desired presence of most of our supporters during Saturday’s open house marking Tembari’s 8th year anniversary.

Of the 25 benefactors we invited from the business community and private groups, only three made it for the occasion.

But then, the presence of these three made up for the absence of the rest.

This is because Tembari was able to draw further support from them, in terms of potential funding for our expansion projects and food assistance.

For instance, Maxine Anjiga-Aruwa, a Papua New Guinean development executive and recent recipient of Westpac Bank’s award for women in business, promised to me that she would network with her associates and groups she deals with in her line of work to draw support for Tembari children.

“What you are doing for these (Tembari) children is great … and it just deserves support from the community,” Maxine told me.

I told her that the facility needs more supply of rice and other foodstuff because the present volume of food assistance we receive from individuals could no longer meet the needs our children.

“At present we are consuming 12kgs (1.2 bags) of rice a day for a total of 7.2 bags a week … this translates to about 28-30 bags (10kg) a month.

“At present we are receiving a monthly donation of 16 bags from a Malaysian expatriate executive,” I told Maxine.

I added that we also consume two bags of flour (10kg) a week which our volunteers bake into bread for our preschoolers’ noon time snacks.

“We need a regular supply of this every month,” I added.

Maxine said she has good contacts in the rice industry and would be able to do something about our food requirements.

Late last year, Maxine donated to Tembari the K10,000 prize she received from Westpac as part of her award for being one of the five outstanding women in business.

Tembari is using part of the fund on some of its urgent needs.

Another guest, Meghan Sullivan, senior program manager of Digicel Foundation, the charitable arm of cell phone provider Digicel PNG, promised to do something about the lack of space in our preschool.

Right now, we have 106 beneficiaries attending preschool alongside 29 others who have complete set of parents, and therefore, are capable of supporting these children.

These 29 come to Tembari preschool because it is the only facility at ATS Oro settlement providing such service.

And being a registered community-based organization (CB), it is our mandate to take them in, alongside our own children.

In short, our preschool facility is dealing with 136 early learners.

Adding the 69 schoolchildren in various Port Moresby schools to its present crop of preschoolers, Tembari is right now feeding a total of 175 kids

Since we only have three preschool volunteer teachers, the children have been divided into three classes, with one class getting about 40 kids while the two others are getting more.

Tembari has only two small classrooms fashioned out of junked container vans into which the two classes of 40 plus kids are packed.

The third class of about 40 holds its daily session under the mango tree just next to the two container vans.

Whenever it threatened to rain, something that has become a daily affair here in Papua New Guinea these days, the teachers would be forced to send them home.

This was because we don’t have space to shelter them from the pouring rain.

Seeing for herself the crammed affair at our preschool facility where the kids sat like packed sardines, Meghan promised to take this up with the Digicel Foundation board of directors to remedy the situation.

David Slape is no longer new to Tembari, being a regular donor of foodstuff – from corned beef Ox & Palm that his company Hugo Canning produces, to other canned goods they import for PNG market from Australia and the Pacific.

On Saturday, David was briefed by Hayward Sagembo, Tembari president, on the many projects lined up for the beneficiary children.

This included the planned classroom for our preschoolers that is still wanting in funds, and therefore could not be started just now.

Last Saturday was David’s first time to see the place and was impressed with how we were coping with the present number of kids under our wings.

“Any project that you wish to put up for the kids, please involve me …” he told Hayward.

Enthusiastic as he was , David has suggested that we send him a formal letter regarding the planned structure we intend to built that would house a classroom, a small office and a dirty kitchen.

That I would do ASAP.

David promised to do something to help Tembari build it.

SUMMING IT UP, at the end of the day, things all went well.

The whole community was able to see for itself the kind of service we provide to the village’s unfortunate children and that the local people who came to witness the occasion found out for themselves that we were not kidding in our quest to bring a change in the lives of these kids.

And this change is for the betterment of everyone under our care.

How I had wished too that our cherished benefactors had time to come for our 8th foundation day.

After all, what we just presented to the public at ATS Oro Settlement through this open house event was nothing but the positive results that came about during the past two years when they began sending in their assistance.

It was because of their generous support that Tembari has been able to lift the level of services it provides to its beneficiary children.

Without them, we would just be like the rest of 14 other soup kitchens around Port Moresby whose supposed services to the unfortunate children in their respective areas were neither here nor there.

Modesty aside, Tembari has gone forward by leaps and bounds during the last two years when it first came to the attention of the public, especially the donors and supporters.

There’s no doubt about this.

To our benefactors, donors, supporters and friends, thank you very much for the quality of partnerships that you accorded us during the past two years.

Such made the big difference in the lives of Tembari kids.

Hence, we are looking forward to your continued support.

God willing.

David Slape, general manager of Hugo Canning Co, producer of Ox & Palm corned beef, talks to Hayward Sagembo, Tembari president, about the projects at Tembari.

David Slape and Meghan with a preschool teacher inside the classroom.

Guests sitting under the tent on Saturday while waiting for program to begin.

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