Esther John Soto’s
Esther John Soto hails from Enga. She is 30 years old and is married and has two young boys, 10 and three years old.
She is an inmate in the minimum security unit (MSU) at the Bomana Jail outside Port Moresby.
Esther’s highest level of education is Grade 8 which she completed in 2007 at the Hohola Demonstration Primary School. She grew up much of her life at her family’s residence at Hohola 2.
Informal marketing and sales targets are not new to her as she did this most her life after she completed school.
Since her father owns a trade store at Hohola she also spent most times manning the trade store. She even collected empty beer bottles to resell to generate enough income to contribute to her market sales.
She has also had a hand in a poultry/piggery project, lending money to people and selling cooked food.
The personal viability training received at Boman has given her so much motivation to go back into the society and to be herself again. Three of the most important things she has learnt from this training are the power of choice, knowing herself and family budgeting.
Her dream is to be a businesswoman so she can be able to help others in the community by providing small opportunities for them to venture in to the business world as well.
This training has completely changed her mindset on the way she sees life. She is now able to own herself and realise the personal power she possesses. She is able to see that she can truly be self-reliant and financially independent.
Under the partnership of the Human Development Institute and the Bomana Jail, the inmates are able to go through the three levels of training.
The first level is Personal Viability, the second Game of Money and the third Game of the Rich.
Esther completed her Level 1 with the rest of her batch on April 27, 2018. Her journey in Level 2 started on May 21.
The target was to reach K1000 in six weeks to pass Level 2. Having that target in mind Esther firstly began her journey by brainstorming how she could reach her K1,000 in just six weeks.
The first thought was that it was impossible. But with the advantage of her experience of the informal market her brain quickly worked out a way and the answer to this was her family.
Apart from the many reasons disadvantaging them from reaching their set target one of the main ones was the limited access they had to customers outside the prison gates.
Esther contacted her family and asked if they could do sales for her outside and bring the money for her weekly coaching.
The support her family has shown within the duration of the six weeks was really touching. Every coaching week they would come back with her cash and books for us to audit and balance for continuous trading the next week.
On Sunday, July 1, Esther cooked dishes of food and contacted her family which included all her father’s brothers and their families. They would buy from her purposely to reach her target.
To even her surprise her immediate family and members of the extended family turned up and bought all the dishes she cooked for her to pass her Level 2 Game of the Money course.
It was in week six that Esther reached her target of K1000 and more exciting was the fact that she made more than the set amount.
Esther’s testimony is proof that regardless of the situations in life one can never deny the love of family.
Roselyn Kanama comes from Northern and is married to Lino Vela and they have three sons and three daughters.
Roselyn and her husband are both Correctional Service officers at Bomana Jail. Roselyn has been in the service for 33 years now.
Having completed her Level 1 in Personal Viability training on April 14 at Bomana, her journey in Level 2 Game of Money with the rest of Batch 1 began on the May 21.
Roselyn is the first participant from Batch 1 to have reached her target of K1,000 and a surplus in just five weeks. She has saved K1,200 with HDI and has K566.65 to roll over for the last week to complete the Game of Money phase. Roselyn gets her motivation to strive for excellence from the support she gets from her family.
From her experience she has learned that a team could only progress if there was equal participation by all members.
Being a reserved person the Level 2 Game of Money has really challenged her to go out of her comfort zone to do her sales.
She realises the only way to know the customer’s needs is to go out and talk to them.
She has attended so many trainings in her years of service under the CS but said that HDI’s courses were definitely the only sustainable and future-oriented training she has ever attended. She can see that the skills and knowledge she continues to learn week in week out will be able to sustain her family’s livelihood after her and her husband leave the CS.
As a correctional service officer she has witnessed that inmates have found a new sense of belonging and this Game of Money course has definitely added value to every aspect of their lives since the beginning and this was the real rehabilitation programme that all other correctional institutions around the country must implement to rehabilitate all the inmates.
She is currently working alongside female inmate Maisen Henry to reach her target as well.
Roselyn further adds that in order for someone to reach such a goal within a set time frame there has to be a support system in place to achieve goals. She thanks her family for the massive support they have given her to reach her goal.
- Testimonies written by AILEEN KAUILO of HDI