Students get hands dirty for a cause


THE struggle is real for families when it comes to fees for a new school year.
Families go out of their way, especially in rural areas, with many tilling the land to make ends meet.
We have reported and witnessed many students dropping out of school because parents cannot pay school fees.
One group that must be commended for the initiative of distributing onion and potato seedlings to high school students to plant during the holidays is the Individual Reform and Restoration Movement from Chimbu.
The 33 students in grade 8 and 9 from Womkama village in the Kundiawa-Gembolg district were also given farming tools and chemicals.
One may see this initiative as school farming but the movement was initially formed to improve the lifestyle of the people through the sustainable use of their natural resources.
Interestingly, 117 families are being supported to farm their land to earn an income that can be used to pay school fees and buy food.
More than 18,000 trees – both native and introduced eucalyptus – had been planted as a long-term investment for the children.
It will also help combat climate change.
Gardening provides numerous opportunities for hands-on learning, inquisitiveness, observation, and experimentation.
They learn new skills, have fun, socialise and develop self-confidence by spending time in the garden attending to plants and growing their own food.
People of all ages can enjoy gardening, but children, especially students, will have lots of fun and gain special benefits.
Papua New Guineans have worked the land for their subsistence over thousands of years.
We are certain that the techniques of gardening will come naturally to these children who would have been exposed to basic garden while growing up.
We support the idea of teaching our students about real life challenges of improving lifestyle and the environment.
Observation and research has shown that there are educational benefits for students when they are involved in gardening.
While they are engaged in this activity, they also learn about running a small business.
One cannot deny that small businesses in agriculture are the backbone of growth in production, employment and innovation.
Through agriculture people literally hold their own destinies in their hands.
There needs to be a paradigm shift back to the land as it was seen in pre-independence times when agriculture was the substratum that the economy was built on.
Papua New Guineans have worked the land for their subsistence living for thousands of years.
Such groups like the Individual Reform and Restoration Movement must be supported by the Government as agriculture can directly benefit the rural communities.
Such projects also make the students self-reliant, committed and disciplined.
It contributes to making them hard-working citizens.
Most have grown up in a family where parents believe that one should work hard in life.
Our children need to be taught the skills they will need in real life and we must give them the room to practice those skills on their own.

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