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  • Sr Cristina Villasanta, FMA

FMA: Dream big for the ladies

Port Moresby: ‘Dream Big for the ladies’ was the encouragement of Sr. Mabel Pilar, FMA (former Provincial Superior) and Sr. Teresita Padron, FMA, the present Provincial, to the sisters in Papua New Guinea. Over the years the Sisters have been dreaming and planning to put up their own Technical school.

Soon Sr. Alem Coching began the process of research, writing proposals, contacting benefactors and seeking collaborators. As Sr. Alem is sent for the mission ad gentes in Egypt, this year Sr. Alice Fulgencio was tasked to be the Project Directress. Together with the collaboration of Sr. Juliet De Leon, the Animator, Sr. Cristina Villasanta, Sr. Carmencita Rodriguez and Sr. Eleanor Samson, (POM Community) and with continued liaising with Steffen Marziniak, the Don Bosco Mondo consultant, the final submission of the project proposal to German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, (German: Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung), (abbreviated BMZ), was made on 15th May 2021. Of the whole funding applied, 75% will be paid by BMZ and 10% by Don Bosco Mondo. Thus, 85% of the total fund will be from Germany and the remaining 15% will be the expected counterpart of the FMA POM.

Hon. Justin Tkatchenko, Member of Parliament for Moresby South and Hon. Powes Parkop, Member of Parliament and Governor of the National Capital District willingly agreed to help with K270,000 (Euro 65,355). The rest of the local contribution will be sought from other willing benefactors.

On Monday 26th July, Mary our Help paved the way that on the Feast of Her parents, Sts. Anne & Joachim, the new Mary Help of Christians Technical Institute (MHCTI) received the financial support for the counterpart. Present for the celebration were the FMAs with Mary our Help residents (female Bosconians) studying in Don Bosco Technological Institute (DBTI).

Sr. Juliet in her opening speech, thanked the Hon. Justin Tkatchenko and Governor Hon. Powes Parkop for their support to this dream of a new TVET & FODE CENTER. She said, “We are deeply honoured to be visited today by Honourable Powes Parkop and Honourable Justin Tkatchenko; both of your presences and support speak of your steadfast dedication to education, to giving more chances to the young people of Papua New Guinea, particularly in NCD and Moresby South to be productive members of their families and communities, and this also underlines your dedication to empowering the women sector in our society.”

Fr. Gregorio Bicomong,SDB, Provincial Superior rendered commendation to very positive FMA efforts to begin the institution next year 2022 for the young women who are marginalized and those who are at risk. “I am happy that the Mary Help of Christians Technical Institute will be a real milestone in the history to educate young women in their spiritual, human, intellectual or wholistic development of the young of PNG.”

Commenting on Don Bosco’s zeal for young people he said, “It is precisely during this trying times of the Pandemic that collaboration of all is needed to improve the sad plight of many young boys and girls through education particularly, technical and vocational education, by building more workshops not making the devil as the instructor or teacher but the loving and guiding hands of the Salesian Sisters and their Lay Mission Partners will ensure that the young women are in Good Hands”.

In his grateful speech, Hon. Tkatchenko thanked the sisters and said, “The Catholic Church has put a lot in Papua New Guinea, they invest their time, effort and energy without fear or favour, a lot of their work is thankless but they do it with their heart, working through The Word of God for the benefit of our people and Mary Help of Christians Technical Institute is one of those special sections in the Catholic education process that help our young women under the age of 25 in Moresby South to get a better life, a better education and better step forward like they’ve never had before”.

Governor Hon. Powes Parkop, cited that he is giving his full support because it is another initiative of the Church and it aims to promote young women. “This is a great initiative by the Catholic Church for the benefit of our women and girls and on behalf of the City I am very pleased to support and I had no hesitation to come on board. The reality in our city and I’m sure that in the rest of our country, without the support of the Catholic Church, the government would not be able to reach out to the young people, the Church is a strategic partner for the city and the country.”

Representing the lady-residents of MOH, Adelaide Abkosa year 3 taking up Bachelor in Electrical Technology expressed her sincerest gratitude for extending help to MHCTI that will give advantage to more young people especially the women.

Then the momentous event transpired, the presentation of the cheque of K100,000.00 to Sr. Juliet De Leon, FMA, the Superior of the community to help the Salesian Sisters for the counterpart by Hon. Tkatchenko. Enjoyable and amazingly delicious refreshment followed. The Governor, after a hearty meal, went ahead to another public commitment while Minister Tkatchenko took time to tour around and see the TVET-FODE Building. He was very appreciative of the place but looking beyond, he inquired, "What about dreaming for expansion in the remaining vacant lot?’

Well, the beautiful story of Mary Help of Christians Technical Institute (MHCTI) starts to unfold. With Mother Mary Our Help, we pray that we may be but God’s simple instruments to build schools for girls that will help them become leaders of change in the future. For the FMAs and the Salesian Family, there is no bigger dream then to EDUCATE OUR YOUNG PEOPLE because to EDUCATE is to EVANGELIZE.

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