By ELLEN TIAMU
WHILE the government looks at the bigger picture and tries to help bulks of the people through its projects implementation, many small people still feel left out during the many hardships they face in their daily lives in remote villages. In Bundi, Madang, one community-based organization that tries to attend to these small, though not insignificant, matters is Kumura Foundation Incorporated, that’s based there.
Kumura Foundation is a non-government organization, formed to help improve the livelihood of the poor and disadvantaged people of Usino-Bundi, who not only live more than 120 kilometers away from the main town of Madang, but lack a proper road network to enable them to move around places easier. Perched up high on the mountains of the Bismark Ranges, Bundi, is in fact, closer to Kundiawa, in Simbu and Mt Hagen in Western Highlands. Goroka in Eastern Highlands, which it also shares borders with, is about the same distance away as to Madang.
The organization needs funding to carry out its work and last month received much-needed support from a major company in Madang.
Ramu Nico Management (MCC) Company Ltd came to the aid of Kumura Foundation with K5000 which was handed over at the presentation in Madang on Thursday, 20 Sept. The funding was to help fund Bundi’s Snow Pass Eco-lodge (one of the initiatives of the foundation) exhibit their products at the 10th Liklik Diwai Tourism Expo and Symposium in Madang on Friday, September 22nd. Snow Pass Eco-lodge was launched on the 28th of February this year and is the first proper eco-tourism development based in Bundi. Eco-tourism is one of the core focus areas of Kumura Foundation.
Yuan Zhi, Executive Deputy General Manager of Community Affairs at MCC’s Madang Office said “Bundi is within our mining impact zone so we are pleased to support such noble initiatives by Kumura Foundation”.
Community Affairs Manager Albert Tobe, also added that “we are a mining company. Our work stops once the Nickel is finished. So while we are operating, we will support genuine long term-sustainable initiatives by the locals like the eco-tourism project which Kumura Foundation is pioneering in Bundi”.
“For three years we have been doing a lot of community services all over Usino-Bundi impacting thousands of lives, but we have never received any corporate sponsorships for our activities until now” said Danny Kunda, Deputy Director of Kumura Foundation, upon receiving the funds.
“This shows that MCC does care in supporting community impact projects, which the foundation has a proven track record of delivering in our remote communities of Usino-Bundi.”
“Therefore, on behalf of the foundation team, we are very thankful for your sponsorship” added Kunda.
The foundation assists villagers in the areas of education, healthcare, eco-tourism and community services.
The foundation has three major activities coming up for this year for which they hope to work with MCC for further support.
The first is the Fundraising Bismarck Tracking Event from October 14-28. About 30-40 youths from Usino-Bundi will traiblaze the mighty Bismarck Range crossing four provinces (Eastern Highlands, Madang, Jiwaka and Simbu), while conducting rural clinics in extremely remote villages where government services are rare. The purpose of this event is to promote Bismarck Trekking for tourism and raise funds through corporate sponsorships and donations to build a better rural clinic at Snow Pass in Bundi.
Founder, and Director of the Foundation, Vincent Kumura on June 15, 2015, established the Snow Pass medical dispensary, a small clinic that is the only active dispensary, serving the 6,000 people in the whole of Upper Bundi district.
Over 4000 patients in Usino-Bundi and Gama have so far been served through community clinics, rural outreach programs, frontier medical patrols, and community workshops. The dispensary receives medical supplies from the Kundiawa General Hospital, Bundi Health Centre, donations from United States and caring individuals. The dispensary also gets donations of eye glasses from the U.S through Dr. Marc Richmond and University of California, Irvine, and donates freely to eye patients who need glasses after testing their eyes. Over 2,000 reading glasses have been distributed since the operation began in 2014.
The foundation also initiated a major Women Advocacy Workshop and Flower Arrangement Show at Bundi which will run from November 9-13, annually. The event will include a mini-culture show on November 12 featuring iconic Imure Fire Dancers, the Bundi Butterfly Dancers, the Vanamo Dog Dancers, among others. The purpose of the event is to empower women, promote tourism, and in the long term, improve the livelihood of the poor and disadvantage locals.
A rural medical patrol has also been scheduled to Pimbu Maiba, an extremely isolated community bordering Usino-Bundi and Jimi in Western Highlands. It is one of the 34 electoral wards of Usino LLG. About 20 volunteers will carry medical supplies, soaps, and other items for donations to the local community there. It takes several days to reach there by foot from Banu, Ramu Nico Bridge. The imminent wet season will mean that the team will have to swim across many fast flowing rivers, one of which is as large as the Ramu River.
“It will be a challenging task getting there, but our team is determined to make it. Our motto is ‘Live to Serve.’”
“There are people out there dying from lack of basic government services, so we must get out there to help them. They can’t come out to meet us,” said Vincent Kumura’s niece Evelyn Kumura who is helping with the foundation.”
A team from the foundation went into the area early this year to conduct an assessment and reported that the community is in dire need of basic health care and education facilities. There are no traces of any government services there and many villagers, including children, have large, incurable ulcers and are suffering. The foundation hopes to donate soap, tooth paste and tooth brushes, clothes and medical supplies to the people. the visits will include conducting workshops on health and hygiene.
“Our district is the largest and one of the least developed in Madang. So I am glad that MCC came on board as our first corporate sponsor. It would be nice to have other major companies within the district such as ERA Resources Inc. and Ramu Agro Industries Ltd, including the provincial and local government to partner with the foundation in moving these noble initiatives forward”, said Vincent.
If you would like to know more about Kumura Foundation, contact the director on;
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.Facebook.com/Kumura Foundation/
By ELLEN TIAMU