Sunday, October 23, 2011

Resource developer Vanimo Jaya Ltd donates computer

Chew Pang Heng (center) with Hayward Sagembo (left), president of Tembari Children's Care (TCC) and Andrew Tiong, RH (PNG) Group general manager for operations. Mr Chew and a group of Malaysian Chinese expatriates belonging to the Methodist Church in Port Moresby visited Tembari sometime ago for a fellowship with the children.

A Friend of Tembari Children

FINALLY after so much delay, Tembari is again able to get a working computer to help Patison, our administrator, and Penny, Tembari’s founder and program coordinator, document statistics on our beneficiary children, whose number boomed to 200, more or less, from 78 at the end of 2009.

As a legally-registered community-based organization (CBO), Tembari has grown in such a way that dealing with its statistics has ceased to be a joke and instead became a nightmare.

And we don’t have a working computer. The one that we were using conked out many weeks ago, leaving us helpless with our statistics work.

Our growth could be described as “by leaps and bounds” in terms of the number of beneficiary children we are looking after these days and in terms of so-called properties that we started accumulating at the start of 2010 to these days that included forks and spoons, plates, glasses, pots and cookware, chairs, books, stationery, foodstuff – from bags of rice to cartons of tinned fish and snack foods -- to the bigger items like refrigerators (we have two units) and freezers (two units), audio visual facilities (two units of DVD players and a flat screen), computer sets (two units) and furniture and fixtures.

This latest figure of our population, which is 200, is threatening to increase a bit more, because the number of unfortunate and less-privileged children in the community seemed to increase every time and the temptation to list them into Tembari system, as far as the management is concerned, is getting irresistible.

But I have always restrained the Tembari management from doing so, telling that “please, let’s keep our population at that … 200 ... because finding new sources of food and funding is now beginning to get difficult”, -- to which a new donor, who learned of my little problem, has seemed to agree with me.

And not mention our paid staff composed of preschool teachers, administrator and volunteer mothers whose records have to be put in black-and-white.

But before I get on with my statistics despair, I would like to thank our computer donor – the Vanimo Jaya Ltd, a resource developer whose operations are based in Vanimo, a far-flung north-western PNG township on the borders of Indonesia’s West Papua province (Irayan Jaya) and Papua New Guinea.

The Port Moresby-based Vanimo Jaya is further divided into three or more business concerns involved in logging, sawmill, real estate, timber exports and heavy equipment-providing.

When its director Chew Pang Heng visited Tembari last month, along with his fellow members in the Methodist Church composed of Malaysian-Chinese expats in Port Moresby for a fellowship with the children, he noticed that our CPU (computer) at the office was not plugged into the power-source.

“What must be the problem?” he inquired and I told him that it (CPU) did not have power, would not boot, and therefore, was practically “dead”.

And I told him the million things that we have to document, among them the children’s individual profiles, school records (both preschool and elementary/primary) and of course our growing number of small and big properties from donors.

I told Mr Chew that the schoolchildren’s statistics alone – names, school marks, ages, sex, and many more -- were killing both Penny and Patison as they could not just do it manually.

And worse, the current school year is ending and a new one is coming.

That means updated stats on the children should be ready by January so that we could present it to potential donors who may be able to pay for their school fees.

Not to mention the communications we have to send out to potential donors and groups seeking to know what Tembari is all about.

Mr Chew had one resolve: “No worries, Alfredo, you’ll get a new one … give me sometime … that’s good as done…”

So, last Thursday, he called me to tell the good news that I could pick up the CPU anytime, which I did last Friday.

We have to organize our records, most important, our financial records.

Because very soon, a volunteer auditor from some prestigious audit group in Port Moresby would start looking into our records – funds, funding sources, properties, spending, disbursement and all – and come up with an official financial statement that would show our financial standing as a CBO receiving donated funds and materials.

The auditor’s concern would be the funds that went into Tembari’s two bank accounts with Bank South Pacific and Westpac Bank.

For all you know, during the last three months, a total of K50,000 (about US$22,000) went into our two bank accounts – a combined donation from the Malaysian Association of PNG (MAPNG) and the Filipino Association of PNG (FAPNG).

The first question seemed to be, as far as the auditor is concerned is: How are we managing our funds?

All this should be put in black and white, and that is through statistics that we could only make a reality with the new computer unit that is now at hand.

I know how important such financial statements are, myself being an accountant many years ago.

And these days, funding sources and funding institutions are more particular with financial statements that charity groups like Tembari would be able to present should it decide to seek funding.

A credible financial statement is a big plus for any fund seekers like Tembari, especially so when it was certified by a chartered (licensed) accountant-auditor.

And to achieve this, all will have to begin with properly organized figures and such could only be processed properly with the use of the computer.

During those days when I was doing accounting jobs – posting and recording figures and preparing the financial statements -- we did everything manually, and computer as they are known today were still unheard of.

And as Tembari moves on, it would be dealing with a lot of statistics, which have to be computer-processed.

Like for instance, this little incident that I encountered yesterday at the supermarket in Port Moresby.

I was shopping around when one of our regular donors – Elaine Blagnaut, a white South African expatriate with RBP Trading in Port Moresby – crossed my path and broke the news to me:

“We’re going to have an early Christmas party for Tembari kids last week of November,” she told me.

I knew immediately why the early Christmas party: They will be flying back to South Africa for the Christmas holidays and that they would like to cheer the children, as they did last year, before going away.

“I need to know how many kids we got now, how many girls, how many boys, their ages, their clothes’ sizes ... and so on and so forth … okay …?”

Yeah. 200 kids. It’s a long list to tabulate.

Thanks Mr Chew for the computer. It will make our job doing the stats a bit easy this time.

Mr Chew (second from left)with Pastor King Ming Wu (left) and Andrew Tiong pose with Tembari children.- Photos by AP HERNANDEZ, Port Moresby, PNG.

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