We need more people like the Pakes

Editorial, Normal

The National, Friday February 12th, 2016

 COLIN and Freda Pake are godsend.

There is no apt description of this wonderful couple who have made a world of difference for a group of under-privileged children in Port Moresby.

Without them, these girls and boys, aged between six and 18 years old, would be homeless and go hungry every day like hundreds of others in the capital city.

Modern cities like Port Moresby are home to both the “haves” and the “have-nots”.

With an increasing middle class, Port Moresby is rapidly expanding and offering ultra-modern amenities and facilities to cater for these well-to-do people.

Unfortunately, the brighter city lights are also attracting folks from the rural areas who simply cannot afford to live in such an environment.

Without employment or activities that can sustain them in the city, their newfound lives become harsh, cruel and unbearable to the point of starvation.

The population of homeless adults and children has increased in Port Moresby in recent years and there are beggars everywhere in the city.

Until the start of the special police operations for the Pacific Games recently, young children could be seen in droves begging for cash or kind from motorists at traffic light intersections in Waigani and Independence Drive. 

They returned after the Games ended and continued their activities until the end of the year when the new NCD police command dispersed them. Like other socio-economic issues, there is no quick-fix solution to the problems associated with rural-urban migration.

Sadly, this is one of the prices our country has to pay for development.

It is therefore comforting to know that there are Papua New Guineans who care about the plight of homeless children and are willing to sacrifice their time and resources to help these kids.

Colin and Freda Pake are such people who have dedicated their lives to giving under-privileged children a second chance to grow up as dignified and useful members of our society. 

The husband and wife team firmly believes there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

And that light is the hope their adopted children are clutching onto with being fed, accommodated and schooled while living at Life PNG Care’s Family Home Care (FHC) in Gerehu, National Capital District.

Colin is the founder and director of Life PNG Care, a registered community-based not-for-profit organization that caters for the under-privileged children through its FHC facility and Strongim Pikinini Education Program.

As foster parents and guardians, Colin and Freda started the Family Home Care in 2013 followed by the Strongim Pikinini Education Program last year.

In the FHC facility, the aim is to create a Christian-based and family-oriented environment where children are taught leadership and life values to be better citizens. 

In the Strongim Pikinini Education Program, an equal opportunity is provided to the under-privileged children who had no chance of entering school due to no uniforms and stationery or lack of support from parents and family. 

“I see that there is potential in these children,” Colin said recently. 

“I see that they can one day become doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants and professional people in our society.”

The Pakes have been running the organisation mostly through their own funding and other resources.

“Some of the challenges we face are a need for a bigger place to house the increased number of children as well as transport for the children to go to school. Currently, the area we are operating is a rented property,” Colin added.

Some assistance has been given to Life PNG Care by business houses and individuals but more is needed to help the Pakes provide for these children.

Indeed, Colin and Freda can take care of more under-privileged children in this city if they have extra funding and other resources, including a bigger home for the children and a bus to take them to school.

We urge corporate entities and individuals to extend their generosity to this most worthy cause.

Give the under-privileged children of Port Moresby a real chance in life by supporting Life PNG Care and the tireless efforts of this saintly couple.

Your kindness will go a long way towards relieving the hunger and suffering of a few more under-privileged children in this city.