Sister Clotilde NGOM fdnsc writes from Senegal:
Since 2010, we opened a nursery and primary school in Kaolack to participate in the education of children in our area because the city had only two private Catholic schools. The classes in this school open progressively; each year we open one classroom. We are currently in the year five of our primary school. At the beginning of 2017, we will have to open the other two classes: one of the year 6 and a second one of the year one because the number of kids in that year is increasing.
We have to equip both classes with benches before school resumes. Therefore, we seek your assistance for the purchase of these benches in order to give children good study conditions.
First of all we excuse ourselves for the delay; there was confusion of account number so we only received the money, a couple of months ago. So, after we received the money, we worked with Mr. EL HADJI CISSE, the Carpenter, who, with the money we had, made sixty benches for the primary school.
We sincerely thank you for your generosity to us. Indeed, we know that the needs for the evangelization of peoples are various and that you are very solicited.
That is why your gesture touches us and the funding of USD 4152.20 you have given us, allowed us to equip with benches 2 classrooms and to complete the third class that did not have enough benches. Children are now at ease and work in very good conditions.
Your contribution is therefore a great encouragement for us to move forward in our mission.
Please pass our gratitude to all your benefactors. May God bless you in your mission.
From sister Clotilde NGOM,fdnsc
Fr Tony Young msc sends a report from Hope Academy
In spite of ending last year in a rather grim position at both centres (Nimowa and Alotau), this year was one of renewed growth and achievement towards our goal of offering education that is both affordable and of excellent quality, at all levels, to those who desire it, and especially those who have no other way of getting it.
At Nimowa, students had suffered from having little or no access to their web school for more than two years since cyclone Ita destroyed all the network equipment. The tutors were providing the missing classes as best they could.
In March this year it was decided to wait no longer for promises, made after the cyclone to replace the destroyed equipment, to be kept. Thanks to the generosity of the Melbourne Overseas Mission, and with help from Infocom, a satellite dish was installed that was able to give Nimowa Academy direct access to the internet.
To the frustration of tutors, students, and parents, there were initial technical problems with the operation of the new system that lasted the rest of the year. These were dealt with during the Christmas break so that students will have full access to their web school in 2017.
At Alotau, we were able to build a new Hope Academy centre, thanks to the generosity of the MSC Mission Office and again the Melbourne Overseas Mission.
The land for the new centre was made available to the Academy by the Catholic Diocese of Alotau, through Bishop Rolando Santos. We are grateful to him.
The new centre was built by Milne Bay Resources. As you can see, an excellent job was done. We thank Con Holland and his staff of Milne Bay Resources.
From March to July, while the building was being erected, we hired a large room in the Eliata premises at Goilanai and set up there the computer equipment for our students that we had taken from our abandoned classrooms in 2015.
In July we moved everything again to our new building and began the big task of installing all the networking equipment and wiring. This is a work in still in progress.
At present students are able to use only about half of our computers, because power limitation and the cost of cabling and equipment restricts us to purchasing what is needed bit by bit when we can afford it.
We began the year with about 162 students at Nimowa. In Alotau, at the Eliata rented room, we had 167 students; later in the year after July we had 135 students.
At Nimowa the number of students declined to 92 at the end of the year. The decline was largely due to dissatisfaction with the poor quality of internet access during the year
At Alotau, although the number of registered students did not decline much, there was a decrease in the number of registered students coming to study in the centre. The principal reason for this was lack of money for study fees.
Worldwide statistics show that only 16 – 20% of students who begin an online course of studies working alone persevere to complete the course. To date there is little sign of this happening at Hope Academy. We attribute this to the availability of tutors and opportunities for student interaction at our Hope Academy centres.
There are four tutorial and three technical staff with one secretary at Nimowa Academy centre.
There are two tutorial and two technical staff at Alotau Academy centre with one secretary and two security guards.
The dedication of all the staff to the work of the Academy can only be described as extraordinary. They often work long hours, sometimes without pay, and yet display a willingness and general equanimity that is rare indeed.
It is, however, one of our most urgent tasks to ensure normal working conditions and regular pay for our staff. The first step in doing that is to ensure that the income from fees and other sources is sufficient for the needs of the Academy, with something to spare, since there are other staff needs, including transport, that must be catered for.
Our policy is to set our fees at a level that is affordable for students from low income families. Unfortunately, we have not been able to do this yet in a way that makes online education affordable for students from very low income families who are always the most disadvantaged.
In the latter part of the year we adopted a fee of K5 per day. This allows students to organise their study programs in a more flexible way, allowing them to allocate days for study, and days for working to get money for their fees.
At present the students deposit their fee money at a local store and take the receipt to be entered manually into the server that controls student access to their web school. Our IT department is working on an mobile app that will record the amount that a student deposits in fees using a barcode system, and transmit this information automatically to the Academy server. This will enable students to go straight to their computers and log in at their school without delays caused by the current manual entry system.
Most of our students want to complete their Grades 9-12 high school education.
We recommend they enroll at Alison, a web school based in Ireland, for their basic courses, as it is easy to put together a program of Alison courses that parallels the PNG high school curriculum.
For years we have been trying, at every level, to get official recognition that the Alison certificate of completion of grade 12 studies is equivalent, in terms of accreditation, to the PNG Grade 12 certificate issued to students who complete Grade 12 at the regular PNG secondary colleges.
Alison certificates are recognised in many countries, but not yet in PNG. Because of this, Hope Academy Grade 12 graduates are not assured of being accepted to apply for places at PNG tertiary institutions.
Some of these institutions, like Sacred Heart Teachers' College and DBTI have accepted Hope Academy students, a number of whom have now graduated from both .
Uncertainty, however, remains, and there needs urgently to be a resolution of the matter for the peace of mind of our students and their parents, not forgetting also the other 9000 + Alison students in PNG. If nothing is done, we may have to consider other options , including offshore accreditation. (cf below: Association with MSC Colleges)
ASSOCIATION WITH OTHER INSTITUTIONS
MSC Colleges in Australia At the end of October this the Academy received a visit from three representatives of MSC Colleges in Australia. Hope Academy is an MSC initiative, and the visitors wanted to inform themselves of the work of the Academy and its staff with a view to determining what assistance the Australian Colleges might give, and what kind of association with Hope Academy might be possible.
The main matters discussed were:
Financial Assistance: The Australian Colleges are willing to assist.
Accreditation: The possibility of Hope Academy becoming PNG campus of one of the MSC Australian Colleges (Daramalan, Canberra, was mentioned). That would make it easier for for the Academy to seek accreditation for its courses in Australia.
Staff & Student Formation: Hope Academy is an MSC initiative. It is MSC policy that in their schools staff, students, and parents be aware of MSC ethos and spirit, and receive formation in them if they so desire.
The possibility of professional staff from Australian Colleges visiting PNG to work with Academy staff and provide training where appropriate was discussed.
The possibility of MSC Colleges in Australia helping to facilitate professional training for our staff at TAFE and other institutions in Australia was also discussed.
Massachussetts Institute of Technology (USA): Hope Academy now has an agreement with MIT for MIT to provide a mirror server containing all of its free online courses (including high school courses) to the Academy. Infocom has agreed to house this server in its satellite hub at Hong Kong so that it can be accessed by Hope Academy students anywhere, using the Infocom network.
The Academy is also in contact with MIT regarding the possibility of accreditation for its free courses.
Alison: the web school in which most of our students are enrolled has agreed that Hope Academy may have a proxy server (based, like the MIT server, in Hong Kong). This will eventually mean that Hope Academy students can access their web school without using the internet, resulting in a large cost savings.
University of New Hampshire (USA): has a program in Nigeria supporting a new University (named Kepler after a famous astronomer) which uses free courses from the internet to educate students in its degree programs.
Hope Academy is asking about the possibility of this initiative being repeated in PNG (Milne Bay).
University of the Peoples (USA): is the first, web based, free tuition university. It has a campus in Jamaica. We have contact asking if they would consider setting up a campus in PNG (Milne Bay}.
University of PNG: Mr Brian Brunton will be discussing accreditation of Hope Academy students seeking admission to UNPNG with the Registrar.
EXTENSIONS: There have been requests from within Milne Bay Province to extend its services to Woodlark Is., Goodenough Is., Fergusson Is., and communities around Daio, Milne Bay.
There is a need to complete a Hope Academy centre at Jinjo, Rossel Is., so that students who now go from Rossel to study at Nimowa can remain on their island to study, thus reducing their costs and those of Nimowa Academy centre
There are 5 other classrooms around Sudest and the East Calvados islands whose network contact with Hope Academy was destroyed by cyclone or not yet installed. These centres need to be completed for the sake of students on those remote islands.
The Academy has been been invited to consider the need of young people in Moresby for its services, and has an offer of funding.
There have been students from the Sepik attending Nimowa Academy for years, and there have been requests to open a Hope Academy centre in the West Sepik.
At best we can do only a little in answer to these requests, because we do not have the resources of staff or money to meet them. We have the offer of a freely installed satellite dish at Guasopa, Woodlark Is.; Rossel Is. already has students studying at Nimowa, and an existing classroom at Jinjo; there is an offer of funding that would help begin Hope Academy in Moresby. So it would seem that these are the places we should concentrate on in 2017.
Hope Academy ended the year in debt, still owing money to Milne Bay Hardware for materials used in the renovation of the classrooms abandoned in 2015.
The Academy in also had to borrow K20,000 to see it through to the end of 2016.
The cost of the new building in Alotau, and money to assist in setting it up, were provided by the MSC Mission Office.
Other financial assistance was provided during the year by the Melbourne Overseas Mission (Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne), and two private donors who channel their financial assistance for the Academy through MOM.
So far, the Academy policy of setting fees to an affordable level for at least some families who have a low cash income has been difficult to implement without making a loss. The reason for this is simply that a significant number of students in the past have paid nothing, or only a part, of their fees. We hope this problem will be solved by making it possible to pay a daily fee, and not granting access to the internet to those students who do not pay (cf. # FEES above).
It is Hope Academy policy to become financially self supporting as soon as possible in its day to day operations. A good beginning has been made.
In regards to the above I would like to acknowledge receiving renovation assistance of $7072 by the month of October. The assistance was used as proposed in stage 1 of our renovation plan without any delays.
On behalf of the Rabi Island Catholic Community I would like to thank you for the assistance which has enabled us to complete our first stage of renovations. The assistance has been used to its purpose therefore the grant has helped us to move a step further.
I would also like to inform you that the first stage of our proposed renovation plan has been completed and that we are moving on to the second stage.
Hope that the assistance is granted for our next proposed renovation stage.
Fr. Sulio Naduva
Project Name: Renovation of Our Lady of Fatima Pre School Rabi
Objective: to complete renovation works of the Pre School in four days for the welfare of the students and especially for a safe learning environment.
Stage 2 of the proposed renovation plan covers the following:
1. Changing of louvre frames and glass since the old ones are no longer safe for the students. During rainy days the classroom is wet since most widows are old and can no longer withstand heavy rains.
2. Levelling of the cement floor. In some areas of the classroom holes can be found so in some cases students get hurt as a result of falling into these holes. This is one part of our renovation plan which needs proper attention.
We received photo's and acquittal from Sister Lea KPOYABUMU and Sr Philomène Iketa for the $30,000 sent to Congo for repairs to the OLSH School in Boende.
Sr Philomène writes: "We cannot thank you enough as you saved lives...The school building in Boende is an old building. Walls were breaking, the roof leaking... so many threats...It has been quite scary to keep the children in especially during rainy season when we have strong winds and big storms. And because people are very poor, you cannot even dream of asking them to do something about it. Your contribution to the education of this disadvantaged youth is great! Now, children are relieved. A child in grade four, happy, said: “we don’t run anymore all over the place when it rains! We are safe now and can remain in our respective classrooms! This is a very big change!”
Your support gives us courage to keep up our mission even in these very difficult conditions. Please pass our gratitude to all your benefactors. May God bless you abundantly and reward you for being so generous to the needy, the little ones."
Sr Philomène has many clean water, disadvantaged youth, and Health projects across central Africa that the Mission Office is assisting with funds.
Can You Help?
and select Overseas Aid Projects (Tax-deduction) for Clean Water or Disadvantaged Youth or Health
and write "Sr Philomene Central Africa" in the comments field.
The cost per year is nearly $200,000.
The sisters look after 100 children with clothing, accommodation, meals, and education.
Sr Rachel Agius OP sent us some photo's from the work in Pakistan with thanks to our donors.
To donate to support these works,
select "Overseas Aid Projects (Tax-deduction)" for: "Disadvantaged Youth".In comments type "Pakistan - Sr Rachel"
Hope Academy is a work of Fr Anthony Young msc that uses web-based learning and internet technology to provide training programs to students in remote parts of South-East Papua New Guinea around Alotau and Milne Bay.
With the support of our donors the MSC Mission Office has been able to contribute to this work.
Fr Young has sent some photo's of the construction of the new facilities with thanks to our donors.
If you would like to support this work please donate
to "Overseas Aid Projects (Tax-deduction)" for: "Disadvantaged Youth".
In comments type "Hope Academy".
Fr Keleto Lemo msc writes from Kiribati:
These are some of the photos of the new classroom and some receipts too.
To support the school please donate
to "Overseas Aid Projects (Tax-deduction)" for: "Disadvantaged Youth".
In comments type "Kiribati - Santa Maria College".
Donations are tax-deductible
With this money we feed and educate many poor children boys and girls. We are having more than 100 children living with us and they depend everything from us.
We help many sick people by helping them to do the operation when needed and buy for them the medicine.
We give the water in the poor families by in stole the water hand pumps in their houses Some houses are fallen because they are made of mud and I am helping them to build at least a room not to stay on the road.
All these things we are doing because of the generosity of good people like you.
I thank God and I thank the people of Australia whom are helping the Sacred Heart Organization for helping the poor people.
I promise you my prayers with the children and the people whom are been helped from you.
God bless you all,
Sr Rachele Agius op
Dear Wonderful Donors,
A few weeks ago we received a printout of Overseas Aid Assistance for Mapuordit to the end of March. Once again you have been overwhelmingly generous. It is now “thank you and update time”.
Screened and circulated the world over is the “BAD” news of South Sudan. We are close to much of this BAD news but in this letter we step back from savagery and desperate hunger to send a message of hope. In truth, beneath the terrible conflicts and mass killings, real development and peace building is in place; quiet, unreported, unknown and where it is known, often unacknowledged. Teachers and nurses are receiving excellent training and their newly gained skills will reach into generations to come. Children are being taught and trained. There is a positive side to life in South Sudan.
However, before venturing into the good news stories, let me situate you where BBC WORLD indicates what its perception of South Sudan is, politically in today’s world. Some days ago I listened to an interview between A BBC interviewer and a UN interviewee.
The interviewee was asked to comment on where he believes South Sudan is heading. His response was that First Vice president Dr. Riek Machar wants the Presidency. This Salva Kiir will not allow. So in his view South Sudan is a ship in full sail heading straight to one huge rock!!!!!!
Re the GOOD news.
I quote first from Br. Bill, the leader of Solidarity in South Sudan. He heads a most courageous and highly professionally qualified group of Religious and Lay committed to health and teacher training, frequently in war zones and under extreme conditions. What follows refers to Solidarity’s effort towards training of South Sudanese teachers and health workers.
“Within our residential Colleges where we are training teachers, nurses and midwives, we have record numbers – 108 in nurse or midwifery training in Wau and 119 in teacher training in Yambio. In both Colleges, students come from all over the country from a diverse mix of tribes. Within each College, we are successfully creating unity in diversity, a future platform for peace. The students, from many regions of South Sudan, plus the Nuba Mountains (ethnically Southern but officially part of the north) enjoy being together and help one another in their common goal to become professionals in their chosen careers. Nothing dubious about this. It is good news. The Nuba Mountains conflict, however, gets little publicity but the Sudan government continues, as it has done for years, to bomb its own ‘citizens’ in that region. It is particularly serious at the present time with even hospital and schools being targeted. Totally bad news except for the heroic efforts of some dedicated workers who continue to provide services there.”
And from Dr. Rosario at Mapuordit hospital:
“Mary Immaculate Hospital employs seventy local full time staff most of whom have received in-service basic training to auxiliary nurse status by now complemented by a good number of local qualified staff and supported by a few expatriate medical personnel, including doctors and registered nurses and paramedical and administrative staff from neighbouring African countries, Europe and Australia.”
The hospital bed capacity is now 130. Number of out-patients treated last year exceeded 30.000, most of whom were malarial cases. Unfortunately HIV and AIDS Patients are on the increase.
Schools at Mapuordit:
this year our schools had made an excellent start amidst high temperatures and
severe hunger then totally unanticipated, our County Education Director
declared a three week break and closure of all schools…her reason…extreme heat.
True, prior to this, high 40s prevailed for days and even weeks; but South
Sudan is the land we live in. Students were directed to rest and remain out of
heat. So, what happened? Many of our
Primary students took to football competitions!!!!!!!!!! By now schools have
resumed but the disruption broke a strong momentum that had been set in motion.
However, We live in hope.
Re our own works and ministries in Mapuordit funded by your generosity. In the Primary school registration of pupils has reached well beyond the 1,100 despite the needed increase in school fees. Teachers are in sufficient numbers and Sr. Wendy is making a valiant effort to hold the school together and have it continually fully operational. Teachers were supposed to receive a threefold pay rise this year. Unfortunately their pay today remains at 300 South Sudanese pounds and traded against today’s US dollar, each teacher is receiving US$10.00 per month. Worse still they have received pay for only January and February. Thanks to your goodness we are able to provide what we term “top-up”, without which closure of school would be imperative. Ten teachers are not on the Government pay roll and it is your generosity that covers their salary thus keeping the 1000+++ Primary school children in class.
The Comboni Senior Secondary school, thank God is functioning well with an injection of 5 new Ugandan teachers. Students are responding well to the intensive teaching and there seems to be a good competitive spirit and rivalry amongst students as well as with our other sister DOR schools like Loreto and Atiaba. Last year’s salary disputes have been resolved and please God the old issue will not raise its head again this year. Re public Government Exams…The normal is that at the end of a school year final exams are taken and results produced… Alas!!!!!! Our last year Form Four students have just completed their Form Four exams. The school coped admirably with the extra class of 2015 F. IVs. They were given time and space and support for their study and revision.
In both schools this year our Jur students have returned to regular classes and they feel safe and welcomed. This is a blessing because in recent years due to clashes they felt too unsafe to be in school.
Re Satellite schools…. Our numbers there have exceeded 5,000 students covering over 20 schools. Some of these schools despite all odds and constraints do exceedingly well.
I write this letter from Juba and am currently listening to the arrival of Dr. Riek Machar at Juba Airport. Strangely he comes to form a Unity Government armed with hand grenades, rockets, machine guns etc. We ask prayers “for us sinners NOW”. In hope we go forward and happily do the bit we can as age beckons us on and we respond with courage and good humour. Today week I shall celebrate my 75th…this will be celebrated with great joy and gratitude. Sr. Wendy is still a few years behind me.
Rains have come and a new spirit of hope has been re-ignited. People are cultivating, planting and smiling faces have returned.
Water wells are on hold while drilling equipment is being serviced. One problem adds to the delay in resumption…a recent well is not yielding water and I want this attend to before I place another contract.
Deep gratitude for all you are and do in support of people who are desperately hungry but ever hopeful.
Sr. Wendy Violet and Sr. Rita Grunke
Srs. Wendy Violet and Rita Grunke