By JAMES GUMUNO
CHIMBU’s first seasonal workers programme has been launched to give a chance to its people, especially school dropouts, to earn money from fruit picking in Australia and New Zealand.
The programme, initiated by Catholic nun Sr Louisa Muigle and supported by former public servants, is called Kunabau Waiye Apple Ring Youth and is offering young men and women, who are school leavers from grades eight, 10 and 12, an opportunity to earn money and experience a new environment.
The programme was launched by Mark Kimbe, first secretary of Governor Michael Dua, on Monday at Kutne village in Kerowagi.
Officer in-charge of the provincial labour and industry department Francis Paglau told the first batch of 62 trainees, Dua’s representatives and other guests that his office fully supported the programme.
“The programme is like a bridge between school dropouts and the department to give them second chance to prosper in life,” he said.
Paglau said the seasonal workers scheme was one of the two important programmes undertaken by his department to help school dropouts, the other one was the fellowship scholarship which sponsored students and school leavers to educational institutions around the country.
He said he would send the applications from the trainees to head office for screening between Oct and Dec and a final list would be made known for workers to be sent to Australia and New Zealand next year.
Sr Louisa said the programme, started seven months ago, attracted 62 youths from Kundiawa-Gembogl, Sinasina-Yongomugl and Kerowagi.
“We educate them on personal development, character and behaviour in order to fit into their new environment,” she said.
She thanked Dua for his support and Paglau for liaising with her in initiating the programme.
Sr Louisa said while some students met all nine requirements such as providing medical reports, police clearance, school certificates and references, their biggest problem was getting passports.
She said many youths found it hard to meet some expenses like passports and hospital fees.
Kimbe said Dua would support the programme by making funding available to help meet the youths’ expenses.
He said the programme complemented one of Dua’s aims to empower youth in the province.
By JAMES GUMUNO