We need more beacons of hope

Editorial, Normal

The National, Friday February 7th, 2014

 LAST week we discussed a unique initiative that is bringing together a group young people in Port Moresby to undergo training on how to combat domestic and family violence.

The 12-week “EmPawa” programme is the brainchild of social entrepreneur Eddie Aila, who wants to educate young Papua New Guineans about the effects and ways to combat family and domestic violence.

His company, Aila Consulting Limited, has rolled out the expense-free leadership programme, which will begin next month and is open to males and females.

At the end of the three-month course, there will be an opportunity for one lucky participant to become part of the “One Thousand Strong Men Against Family Violence” team and work closely with Aila. He or she will be groomed to become a training facilitator and coach with Aila Consulting Limited. This initiative is being implemented by Aila and his company as part of their social obligation to the community.

This week, our Madang bureau reported another unique initiative called “Make a difference and never give-up”. The name Madang is translated into this motto. 

Like the EmPawa programme, the Madang initiative is being implemented by a group known as Tropical Gem, which started with 200 members and now boasts 3,000, including retired civil servants, housewives, youths and elderly people.

One of their main activities is cleaning the beautiful tourist town and educating residents about the importance of keeping their environment clean, and healthy.

Tropical Gem, headed by team leader Terence Konda began last year by doing mind-setting and marketing networking courses in open-door classes. They use the Machine Gun beachfront to conduct classes.

According to Konda, the mind-setting courses are aimed at changing the way people think and do things at home and in public places. The group holds morning devotion before conducting the mind-setting sessions.

A student Simon Mavi gave his testimony of the Madang initiative: “I joined Tropical Gem and it changed me. Before I used to drink homebrew and I had a no-care attitude. Now I feel I’ve changed. I just feel ashamed to throw rubbish after we’ve been collecting rubbish from all over the town.”

Mavi’s testimony reveals the instant success of this unique initiative, which should be supported by the Madang town authorities and relevant government agencies.

We had urged the relevant government authorities and agencies, including the Ministry of Religion, Youth and Community Development, to support the EmPawaprogramme in Port Moresby and do likewise for the Madang initiative.

Undoubtedly, great ideas come from little people such as Eddie Aila and Terence Konda who are beacons for the new generation of Papua New Guineans.

They are a special breed of young people who sacrifice their time and energy to help their fellow countrymen and women to change their mindsets about pertinent issues that affect our environment and lifestyles.

There are many other citizens who are as generous with their time, energy and even resources. Their stories need to be told and they deserve assistance from the government to enable them to pursue their plans and initiatives.

While we highlight the unique initiatives of two of our young leaders, it is with great sadness that we note the passing of a true champion of sacrifice. Scholla Warai Kakas, the late president of the National Women’s Council who passed away last Friday, was indeed a beacon for many our womenfolk.

She was a giant in women’s affairs whose kindness and willingness to sacrifice the prime time of her life to the service of others, especially women, will long be remembered.

The vacuum left by Scholla’s passing will be hard to fill for a while but there will come a time when another such leader will rise up to lead the women of this country.

PNG may have lost one of its best women leaders but it is comforting to believe that there are young women out there who have the same attributes and qualities as Scholla Kakas and will one day reveal themselves and make their mark.