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Second Chance Scholarship for West Papua

  • Nigel Akuani

 

Port Moresby: Members of the West Papuan community can now be able to take a sigh of relief and be hopeful for brighter times ahead. 

 

This comes after the West Papua Scholarship Program was officially acknowledged in a Seminar on Friday 28thJune, at the Catholic Bishop in Gordons.

 

The scholarship program was made possible through the partnership between Caritas PNG and the Don Bosco Technical School (DBTS).

 

The program provides the opportunity for West Papuan youths, both males and females, to further their education by attending full-time classes at DBTS.

 

The seminar’s facilitator and Secretary for Development of CBC-PNGSI Ms Marie Mondu emphasized on the need for empowerment and a sense of purpose to be given to refugees, and how the program was a step forward for West Papuans. “Refugees in PNG today need our help, particularly our brothers and sisters from West Papua. This program provides them with the tools necessary to rebuild their lives here, far away from where they left off,” Ms Mondu said.

 

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 as such were obliged to help educate them. “This is a step forward to helping young West Papuans create and develop their skills, and most importantly, find a decent job. If there is leeway for the scholarship to become long-term, DBTS will take it,” Mr Gonzales stated.

 

Representative of Nine-Mile West Papua Community Hans Wonsiwor explained that the scholarship meant a great deal to his people, and said he was prepared to assist in any way possible. “I’m proud of the partnership between Caritas and DBTS, and I thank them both in providing this wonderful scholarship program to assist the West Papuan Community. My presence here today is on behalf of my people and I to show our full support and 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 while not being in school, and said the scholarship was a definite turning point in his life. “I am honoured to be receiving this scholarship. I faced many negative situations but I never lost faith. I just had to imagine myself in a better place in future, pray and do everything right by God that he would hear my cries. I am forever grateful that he finally did,” he said.

 

The seminar had over twenty participants present, most of whom where the first batch of West Papuan student intakes. 

 

Classes are scheduled to commence in July with the first group of students prepared to undergo various fields of study.

 

The partnership between Caritas and DBTS was a first success, and it is anticipated that more are yet to follow with the constant involvement of West Papuan refugees.