Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tembari works on preschool’s land title

Lands Secretary John Ofoi stresses a point to British expat Mauricio Diaz, sales and marketing manager of telco Global Technologies, who is Tembari school project manager. Secretary Ofoi is scrutinizing the documents that Tembari has presented to him towards acquiring a title to the 3,500 square meter property it occupies at Oro settlement, 7 Mile outside Port Moresby. The Secretary has assured Tembari that he will expedite the processing of its land title application so it could start building a preschool for its beneficiary children. – Photo by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ, Port Moresby, PNG

A Friend of Tembari Children

AS they say, “we are getting there …”

And this makes Tembari upbeat on the big prospect that it is going to have a title soon to the land its preschool center occupies.

It was the so-called turn of events that we at Tembari had never expected.

In our very first audience with Department of Lands Secretary John Ofoi last week, he assured me and my colleague Mauricio Diaz, a British expat-executive at a big IT company in Port Moresby, that all we have to do is complete the land titling requirements – survey map, sketches, plans, building plans and all – give them to him. He’ll take care of the rest.

Secretary Ofoi said: I’m taking the short route to award Tembari a land title … I will avail of the so-called “Ministerial Exemption” route … through which I could allot you the property for titling and nobody could ever lay claim over it …”

He said the other process is for our land title application to undergo scrutiny and evaluation by a lands board made up of people from different discipline. Depending on the outcome of the board’s evaluation, a decision to deny or award the title would be made.

It is an exercise that could go the short route or take a long-winding road.

The good Secretary said he was impressed with what Tembari is doing for many settlement children whose future was bleak until they where ushered in to Tembari’s loving arms.

“I’m very particular with groups like Tembari and I want to help it …”, Sec Ofo said after scrutinizing our documents and learning of the center’s plan on that piece of 3,500-square meter lot at Oro settlement at 7 Mile, outside Port Moresby.

He became interested in the preschool classroom building we are to build on property, which we hope could begin sometime this July.

“Tembari will get it (the land title) … and it will enjoy its use of this land for 99 years,” Secretary Ofoi said.

The title to the property is the very first requisite that the Australian High Commission said Tembari has to fulfill before it could green light the start of the preschool building construction.

The Aussie High Comm is the lead donor-sponsor of the school building project. The other project supporters are Hardware Haus, AzkoNobel, Malaysian Association of PNG (MAPNG), Filipino Association of PNG (FAPNG), PNG Stones, PNG Concrete Aggregates, AP Engineering Ltd of East New Britain, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Eda Ranu and the Lands Department.

Worth K100,000, the preschool building will house four classrooms for use by about 100 children who are Tembari beneficiaries and other settlement children with parents who can afford to support them financially.

Since Tembari is the only government-accredited CBO (community-based organization) at the settlement operating a preschool, it is mandated to accommodate preschool children from the community to get an early education together with Tembari children, who are abandoned, neglected and orphans.

But it is not only the 100 preschool kids that get the benefit of various services from the Tembari facility.

It is actually looking after about 200 unfortunate settlement children by providing them meals twice a day, from Monday to Saturday, sending 78 of them to elementary and primary school in Port Moresby, offering them other opportunities to learn like watching educational DVDs and kiddie movies, and cultural development programs such as involving them in cultural dances and song presentation and sport activities such as volleyball, football and rugby.

And most of all, the kids are given the tender, loving care that they are missing owing to the absence of their parents and most important, a home away from home.

The daily feeding activities are being made possible by sustained donations from RD Foundation, SVS Mart, High Energy Co, Pure Water Company, Pacific Industries Ltd, Malaysian Association in PNG (MAPNG), Hugo Canning, Filipino Association in PNG (FAPNG) and Homeguard Construction Ltd. There are individual donors whose foodstuff donation make the bulk of the monthly supplies but wished not to be unidentified.

The acquisition of a land title to Tembari’s premises is only the start of many things that would enhance the welfare and development of our beneficiary children.

So to Lands Secretary John Ofoi: Sir, I salute you for this gesture to help us provide a better life to our unfortunate beneficiary children.

The land title that you are going to award to Tembari will be the key to everything great, as far as our beneficiary children are concerned.

May your tribe increase.

Tembari nearing new highs

Penny Sage-embo (left) thanking corporate sponsors and supporters of Tembari’s daily feeding programme during the day care centre’s ninth anniversary on Saturday. With her is Queen of Tembari Phylis Topogo,14, one of the first beneficiary children who is attending secondary school.-  Nationalpics by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ

Corporate guests during Saturday’s celebration that included Marina Van der Vlies (second from left), CEO of Digicel Foundation

A Friend of Tembari Children

THE Tembari Children’s Care (TCC) is on a roll.

The streak of progress that our day care facility has been enjoying since 2010 – the year when corporate sponsors and generous individual donors began arriving in good measure – could reach a higher peak this year.

That is when it finally starts putting up a K100,000-kit classrooms for its preschoolers and elementary schoolchildren.

And soon, it would get a land title to the 3,500-square meter property it occupies at Oro settlement outside of Port Moresby.

During its 9th anniversary on Saturday, Penny Sage-embo, the founder of Tembari and the facility’s programme coordinator, told me these two milestones, which are now in sight, are making everybody at the center quite upbeat.

Finally after nine years of uphill struggle for recognition from the community hosting its home, Tembari is about to get there, so to speak.

All these were made possible by the sustained support by donors from the corporate world and from individuals who find Tembari’s calling something worthy of support.

It would be appropriate to recall once more that from 2003 to 2009 – a grinding six years in the life of the facility it never received any sustainable funding.

It was fortunate that in 2009, Digicel Foundation took notice of Penny’s endeavor to keep some 78 street children under its wings. That time, Penny was now operating as a day care center and also a preschool for its ward.

Queen of Tembari Phylis Topogo (left) warning a child for being a trouble-maker instead of studying hard in a skit that highlighted the big role of corporate sponsors and supporters in changing their lives – from being village street children to one who are now in school and having proper meals everyday. Topogo,14, who attends secondary school, was herself among the first few abandoned children who were taken in as beneficiary when Tembari Children’s Care was founded as a day care facility in 2003 by Penny Sage-embo. – Photo by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
The center has provided them a safe playground at its premises and fed them at least three times a week with kaw-kaw, greens and watery cordial.

With support from a few volunteer mothers who had chipped in to buy the foodstuff, Penny was able to keep the mind and soul of these unfortunate children intact and inspired.

And to boost Temabi’s early education program, Digicel Foundation provided it with two community learning centers (CLCs) in the form of container vans fitted into classrooms.

Fast forward to Saturday, the day when Tembari marked its 9th year as a community-based organization registered with the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA).

Penny said: “We are looking forward to start a K100,000 school building middle of this year.”

“At the same time, we are hoping to soon acquire a title to the 3,500 square metre property that Tembari is occupying,” Sage-embo said.

She said the Department of Lands Secretary John Ofoi has assured the day care facility would be allocated the property towards its educational program for the settlement children.

Sagembo said that aside from operating a pre-school that benefits 40 Tembari children and another 60 from the settlement, Tembari is going to progress into an elementary school programme, initially with each class in Grade 1 and Grade 2.

“They will hold classes at the four-classroom building that we are going to build by July,” she said.

Right now, the Tembari preschoolers are holding classes in two community learning centres (CLCs) donated by Digicel Foundation in 2009.

Sage-embo said this school year, Tembari would be looking after 200 children, providing them meals twice a day, from Monday to Friday and one meal on Saturday.

Of the 200 children, 58 are in primary schools in Port Moresby with 30 of them at Wardstrip in Gordon. The rest are in other schools in the city.

Likewise, the facility has 67 elementary schoolchildren with 58 of them at Wardstrip.

It is also providing early childhood education, or preschool, to 40 children.

Aside from this, Tembari is taking care of 25 non-schoool age children, who like the rest, are neglected, abandoned and orphaned children.

In a brief remark before guests that included corporate executives and community leaders who attended last Saturday’s open house activities, Sage-embo thanked Tembari’s s corporate sponsors and supporters of its daily feeding programme.

The sponsors are RD Foundation, SVS Mart, High Energy Co, Pure Water Company, Pacific Industries Ltd, Malaysian Association in PNG (MAPNG), Filipino Association in PNG (FAPNG), RH Foundation, YES Ltd (money remittance service), Hugo Canning, High Energy Co, Homeguard Construction Ltd, RBP Trading and a number of individual donors who wished not to be named.

Likewise, Sage-embo thanked the sponsors of the school building project that included Australian High Commission, Hardware Haus, AzkoNobel, Malaysian Association of PNG (MAPNG), Filipino Association of PNG (FAPNG), AP Engineering of East New Britain, Eda Ranu, the Lands Department, PNG Concrete and Aggregates, PNG Stones Ltd, RH Group (PNG), Paradise Interiors, Curtain Bros and Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC).

The lunch food served to the kids on Saturday was sponsored by YES Ltd, a Filipino-operated money remittance service in Port Moresby and individual donors who wished not to be mentioned.

Tembari preschoolers perform a nursery song in front of guests.

Personally from me: Our donors and supporters are superb. They have never failed me when I approached them for something that the Tembari kids needed.

It is for this reason that we’re working hard for the sake of the children whose future all lies in the hands of our donors and supporters.

The foodstuff they sent has kept the Tembari children’s spirits high and their stomachs full.

But while they are helping us feed our children, donors have also dug deeper into their pockets to provide them education.

Food and money -- two elements in the lives of the less-fortunate Tembari children -- are combining to make them realize that some big, bright future also awaits them.

And with the tender loving care that Tembari provides, their lives are gradually going full circle.

Tembari’s preschoolers await lunch last Saturday.

Tembari preschoolers queue for lunch last Saturday, after the Open House with invited guests.

Kids receive donuts and flavored milk for snacks, courtesy of SVS mart, YES Ltd, Mr & Mrs Ronald Dizon of Monian Ltd, Nara Muniandy of The National, The Water Company and Pacific Industries.

 Tinned fish from RD Foundation and bottled water from Pure Water Company. RDF is supplying Tembari with 15 cartons of tinned fish every month while Pure Water Company delivers every month bulk water to fill up a 5,000 liter tank and also supplies the center with  20 containers of purified water (19 liters) every week. Another company, the High Energy Co, also supplies the facility with 5,000 liters of drinkable water every month.

 Crowd from the community watch the Tembari children's sing-sing performance.

 The SVS supermarket supplies Tembari with 10 cartons of flavored milk every month. The freezer and the fridge in the picture are donated by the Australian High Commission. 

Preschool children shows off unused 2011 diaries which they will use as writing pads. The donation from The Ella Murray International School (TEMIS) in Port Moresby comprised 16 cartons, with each containing 80 pieces of diaries. – All pictures by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
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