Sunday, October 23, 2011

An opportunity to help

A purified water dispenser donated by Pure Water Company, along with a weekly supply of 20 containers (19 liters) of purified water. (More pics after the story.)

A Friend of Tembari Children

SOMETIME ago, I was asked by a friend why I was helping the Tembari children.

My answer was simple: I have the opportunity to help, and this opportunity has kept me going until these days.

I know very well that many of you, my dear readers, would want to help the needy like the Tembari children -- who are abandoned, unfortunate and orphans.

But the problem is that you don't have that opportunity to do so.

There could be some reasons: you may be physically ill and in sickbed, you may not have the money or the materials to part with; or that you may be in jail.

But then, in your mind, you wanted to help - only this opportunity did not exist.

In my case, I saw this opportunity about two years ago. And without really thinking so much about it, I just seized it!

That was when I met the Tembari children in December of 2009.

That time, they were only 78 ... I found out to my dismay that they were only eating three times a week.

They were only eating on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

And the food they ate were kaukau (sweet potato), taro, sliced bread, some veggies and cordial drinks - or the variations of them.

In between these three meal days, I really did not know what they ate.

You may be asking why?

The answer is simple: Tembari, as a day care facility, did not have decent funding.

It was practically unknown outside the community where it operated at ATS Oro Settlement, at 7-Mile, outside Port Moresby.

The community volunteer mothers who were running this facility had to chip in money from their own pockets so that the children could eat - even if it was only for three times a week.

So, when I met the children again at the beginning of last year, I promised them that I would look for people who would give them food, money, materials, encouragement and most of all - tender, loving care.

These days, the number of Tembari children has grown from 78 in 2009 to more or less 200.

I am proud to tell you that they are now having meals twice a day - noon snacks and early dinner of rice and tinned fish or tinned meat and veggies -- from Monday to Saturday.

Once in a while a donor would deliver frozen fish – a catch from his company’s commercial fishing boats.

And the children are now washing their hands before every meal and are drinking clean (purified) water and could have it for as long as they want.

A generous donor has seen to it that they have more than enough drinking water every day.

On occasion, some donors would send boxes of new and slightly used clothing which the kids could wear everyday.

And the good news is that 100 of them are attending pre-school education right at Tembari center, and 79 children are attending elementary and primary schools in Port Moresby.

Their school fees had been paid for by generous donors.

All these positive changes in the lives of the Tembari children came to materialize because there have been a number of individuals, corporate entities and groups who continually believed in the merit of what we, at Tembari, are doing for these children.

But just like any organization, big or small, the Tembari Children’s Care (TCC) needs a lot of things to go on and work effectively.

The Tembari day care facility continuously needs funding to support the daily feeding program.

The children need food - like rice, tinned fish, tinned meat and other foodstuff from noodles to flour and more - to help them grow just like other normal but luckier children in Papua New Guinea and across the globe.

Tembari needs materials and facilities that would help us enhance the services that we provide the children every day.

And most important, they need education.

Education is the only key to making them the kind of leaders whom we would like to see running this country many, many years from now.

But first they have to be good citizens, and they could be through good education, which Tembari is trying to start on its own efforts with its 100 preschoolers and 79 elementary and primary pupils.

Through this blog, I am offering you the same opportunity to help the Tembari children, like the very same opportunity I had more than a year ago.

Just like the very same opportunity that the modest number of our donors and supporters had when they first learned about the Tembari children.

When they decided to help, our donors and supporters knew that they were taking a big stake in their future.

That's why they made it a point that their assistance is sustainable and continuing.

Indeed, all of them have become stakeholders in Tembari children's future.

To readers out there, each and every one of you could be one stakeholder yourself.

This is now your opportunity.

I REPEAT: THIS IS NOW YOUR OPPORTUNITY to help the Tembari children.

The help that I do to the kid is not so much, but with you and me together, it could come up bigger and more meaningful.

Tembari children watch a bulk water contractor siphons water to Tembari’s 5,000-liter water tank, a donation from High Energy Co, a fishing company based in Port Moresby. Bulk water is delivered to the day care center every first week of the month.

A volunteer mother assists Tembari children in washing their hands before having lunch.

Penny Sage-embo, Tembari founder and program coordinator and a beneficiary kid display one of the new clothing items donated by the children of The Ella Muray International School (TEMIS) of Port Moresby.

Tembari kids relax while waiting for the rest of the food bowls distributed to other kids during lunch.

A Tembari kid posing while waiting for the plastic container to fill up. The 5,000-liter water tank was a donation from Pure Water Company while the other water tank (background) was donated by RH Foundation.

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