Caritas PNG (CPNG) launched its support to the first 20 West Papuan teenagers in its Humanitarian Aid program to provide education scholarships in partnership with Don Bosco Technical School, Gabutu. The short courses that run for 4 months annually give an opportunity to disadvantaged young men and women to complete and attain a basic certificate in computing, administration, electrician and motor mechanics.
The DBTS Deputy Principal for Technical Affairs, Mr Kenneth Gonzales, described the program as a special one as it involved people who left their homeland, and are in Papua New Guinea as refugees. ‘They welcomed angels’ is the Mission theme for 2019. “In keeping with the theme we are happy to welcome the West Papuan Refugees and offer them the possibility of being educated at DBTS, Gabutu. The program will develop their skills, and most importantly help them find a decent job,” said Mr Gonzales.
The seminar’s facilitator and Secretary for Development of CBC-PNGSI Ms Marie Mondu emphasized the need for empowerment and a sense of purpose to be given to refugees. “Refugees in PNG today need our help, particularly our brothers and sisters from West Papua. This program provides them with the tools necessary and the opportunity to rebuild their lives,” Ms Mondu said.
Representative of Nine-Mile West Papua Community Hans Wonsiwor explained that the scholarship meant a great deal to his people. “I’m proud of the partnership between Caritas PNG and DBTS, and I thank them both in providing this wonderful scholarship program to assist the West Papuan Community. My presence here today is to express my gratitude toward the program,” Mr Wonsiwor said.
Thomas Wangai, soon to be studying Metal Fabrication and Welding at DBTS, spoke of the hardships he faced and said the scholarship was a turning point in his life. “I am honoured to receive this scholarship. I faced many negative situations but I never lost faith. I am grateful to God that He has heard my prayer,” he said.
The West Papuan Community comprises of more than 2,000 people who are living along city drains in 5 different camps across Port Moresby. They were not resettled to an allocated state land as promised by previous government. With this uncertainty, the leaders from the Camps approached Catholic Bishops Conference for help, to assist them in reducing some of their ongoing challenges as food security, clean water, education, land, housing, etc.
CPNG is responding to their needs on a purely Humanitarian basis. One of the CPNG's Catholic Social Teachings speaks about Human Dignity and that the Church and State have a role in making that a reality. It is hoped that by sponsoring education for young West Papuan's, they can find employment to support their families.
The Refugee Livelihood Program is an initiative of Caritas PNG in which the Scholarship program is one of the activities to support the West Papuan Community in Port Moresby. CPNG appeals to the State and Civil Society to contact Catholic Bishops Conference Development Secretary Ms Mondu on 72843207 for any donations (material or money) that we can use to distribute to West Papuan Camps and other disadvantaged families who are within the City Perimeters.