Mercy Works Supports Education in Papua New Guinea
While the rest of us are wrapping things up and preparing to wind things down for 2018, Anne Foale RSM is only just getting started. Sr Anne took off from Sydney in mid-November heading for the humid climate of Papua New Guinea to attend a number of the graduation ceremonies of the Mercy Works’ Access To Education (A.T.E.) Scholarship recipients who have completed their various degrees and diplomas.
Her role as the Mercy Works Coordinator for Overseas & Indigenous Projects sees her travel to both Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste regularly. There are increasingly more projects in Papua New Guinea which means that she is there more frequently to monitor students’ progress, evaluate the impact of projects, and to support the preparation of reports to Mercy Works Australia and the various donors.
The A.T.E. program gives students who do not have the means to attend, continue or access tertiary education, an opportunity to complete their studies with continual support throughout their program of study. A requirement of this program ensures that most students will return home to use their skills to help improve quality of life not only for themselves and their families, but for their more remote village community. The graduation ceremonies are a celebration of the student’s achievements.
One of these students is Harudy Denem, a West Papuan refugee living in the Western Province of PNG. He began studying at Pacific Adventist University (PAU) in 2014. Harudy was unable to keep up with the rising tuition fees and contacted Mercy Works to ask for support. This request resulted in Mercy Works supporting Harudy throughout the rest of his degree and up to his graduation. Sr Anne had the pleasure of witnessing Harudy graduate from PAU in early December. None of his family could afford the travel to Port Moresby from the Western Province for this occasion. Reflecting on this moment, Sr Anne, stated that ‘Harudy kept saying how grateful he was that Mercy Works was able to fill the gap and help him finish.’
Harudy’s post-graduation plans include taking time to relax and catch up with family in his home village of Ningirum, near Tabubil. He then hopes to complete a further year of studies to become a teacher so that he can teach Business studies. If the opportunity arises, he is hoping that he will be able to do this back at his former School, St Gabriel’s Technical Secondary School in Kiunga. Harudy achieved his secondary school certificate from St Gabriels and would like to give back to the school where he received such a good grounding for his tertiary studies.
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