Adventure Kokoda recently donated $35,000 to assist in the establishment of Network Kokoda – a foundation which aims to develop a Master Memorial Plan for the Kokoda Trail in partnership with the Australian War Memorial, the RSL and the Kokoda Track Authority.
Network Kokoda also plans to work in partnership with the PNG Department of Community Services to establish Community Learning Development Centres along the Kokoda Trail and other areas in PNG in recognition of the PNG Wartime Carriers.
The Chairman of the foundation is Brigadier Phil McNamara. During his 35 years in the army Phillip served in the Special Air Service (SAS), the 1st Commando Regiment and the Pacific Islands Regiment in PNG – he is fluent in Tok Pisin. After leaving the army he was engaged as the Director General of the NSW State Emergency Service for seven years. For more information on Network Kokoda please click here: www.networkkokoda.org.au –
Adventure Kokoda has also established a number of philanthropic programs to assist PNG students in Port Moresby and villages along the track. These include:
- a Kokoda Bursary Program to assist PNG students at Port Moresby Grammar School and beyond;
- a ‘Bring-a-Buk’ program to assist in the stocking of the school library;
- a ‘Yumi Helpim Pikinnini Program to support village schools along the Kokdoa trail: and
- a ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel Trekking Program’ which involves sponsoring senior students and teachers from the Sogeri High School on our Kokoda Youth Leaderhip Challenge treks.
We also provides sponsorship to Sister Tessie Soi’s ‘Friends Foundation’ – an organization dedicated to helping prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and also to supporting mothers and children who are already living with the virus.
Our Port Moresby Grammar School Kokoda Bursary Program
Mr Michael Luff, Deputy Principal of Port Moresby Grammar School has provided the following feedback in regard tp tje stidemts we have assisted in 2010:
- Wari Tola Wari had been expelled from a local government school because she fell pregnant in Year 11. Fifteen months later she re-applied to return to school but the principal refused to accept her. We responded to an urgent call for assistance from Mr Luff and together with the Business & Professional Women’s Group of Port Moresby we were able to cover her fees. In mid-September 2010 Wari topped the country’s 13,000 students in the English written expression exam. Wari will now graduate and probably take up a Banking Career. We will provide further assistance if required in 2011;
- Kylie Kevau Kylie’s family were unable to pay her school fees. Adeventure Kokoda trekkers, Sue Hoopmann and Kerry Chikarovski answered an urgent call for assistance and, together with the Business and Professional Women’s Association of Port Moresby, Kylie was able to graduate in 2010. She now intends to study foundation science at UPNG with the aim of completing a medical degree in order to become a doctor;
- Iadua Vegofi & Peter Redin Idua and Peter from Year 11 were awarded a full scholarship each from the RSL State Branch (Canberra) to complete the senior years of schooling at Port Moresby Grammar School. Mr. John King (President) made the presentation;
- Elaine Kila from Year 12 was awarded a full scholarship for 2010 to complete her final year of schooling. Mr. Joe Filippi, President) from the Port Moresby RSL sub-branch, made the presentation;
- Sarah Danagi in Prep 1 has been sponsored by Russell Keddie from Keddies Lawyers in Redfern – Sydney. The initial connection was made through Adventure Kokoda networking;
- Mayvis Viritia and Wagea Wagea from Grade one: – sponsored by Charlie & Jill Lynn through Adventure Kokoda for 2009 & 2010; and
- Vincent Simborata from Grade 7:- Sponsored by Charlie & Jill Lynn through Adventure Kokoda for 2009 & 2010.
- Margatet Aitsi. Margaret achieved distinctions in year 12 at Port Moresby Grammar School and was awarded the Chairman’s Prize for best student. Adventure Kokoda are now sponsoring Margaret as a boarding student at the Divine Word University in Madang where she is studing commerce. The sponsorship includes full payment of fees, clothing assistance, a laptop computer and a fortnightly allowance.
- Alfredah Nakue. Alfredah was sponsored by Adventure Kokoda during her final two years at Port Moresby Grammar School. She is now employed by Adventure Kokoda to assist with administration of our treks in PNG. She also participates in our RSL Services Clubs Youth Leadership Challenge as an assistant trek leader to assist young female trekkers during their trek.
This program was initiated after Charlie Lynn first visited the Port Moresby Grammar School and inspected their library – it left much to be desired. We then initiated our ‘Bring-a-Buk’ program which involved inviting trekkers to bring a book or two from a list provided by the school. More than 3,800 books have been provided since we commenced the program and the library is now a pride of place within the school. Once new books are added to the library collection culling takes place and in total for 2010 23 cartons of outdated and “not used” books have been sent onto other developing libraries. Pom Grammar particularly supports the libraries of Taurama Community School, Bavaroko Community School, Gaire Community School and other schools upon request. Where there is a duplication of books (which are new) these are passed on as donations to other libraries.
Our trekkers have also donated large amounts of sporting gear and other educational supplies. Mr Michael Luff, Deputy Principal of the school has provided us with the following summory of donations for 2010:
- 783 books to suit various ages and interests. Most new and quite a number second hand but in very good condition – a little bit quieter this year as the trekking numbers were noticeably less;
- School stationery supplies: Substantial quantities of exercise books, pads pens, rulers, sharpeners, rubbers and pencils;
- Medical supplies for all requirements. Bandages, band aids, ointments and creams. POM Grammar has not purchased first aid needs all year and various sections of Port Moresby General Hospital are very happy with the prescribed medications and medical apparatus that are donated by trekkers;
- 40 different DVDs of an educational nature. Some were repeats but these were sent onto other schools;
- Cash donations of $2100 rom Adventure Kokdoa trekkers to assist in special needs cases – used to purchase harmonicas and recorders for the school;
- Carry bags and ruck sacks of various kinds;
- Four soccer balls, ten Aussie Rules balls, three league balls, two volley balls, numerous tennis balls, two union balls and eight pumps;
- Clothing, sports gear, hats, whistles and rules books; and
- Packets of sight cards for early learners.
Yumi Helpim Pikinnini Program
This program provides educational and health support to villagers along the Kokoda Trail. Our trekkers are invited to bring a range of small itelms they can carry in their backpacks for presentation at various schools and health centres. In 2010 we delivered 35 backpacks of educational and health supplies to village schools and health centres.
Out the Window .Flying in to Port Moresby was almost depressing. The sky had taken on a faded brown hue the sun was shining but the air just didn t seem clear with it the seas didn t have the anticipated blue either. The hills surrounding Port Moresby weren t the lush rainforest green I was expecting instead they were a seared brown and yellow similar to the colours around Melbourne when flying in during a hot summer. Nothing was as I expected and the surprises continued when I stepped off the plane..Fortunately I was expecting a huge temperature difference and had dressed in layers to accommodate the heat. Clearing customs and immigration was time consuming as expected but no hassle in fact the staff were all friendly and delightful perhaps they thought we were a little crazy to embark on such a mad journey!.Finally we made our way out of the airport and into the sunshine where we were met by children from a local school who were welcoming us with traditional dance. Can you imagine my surprise when this is the first dancer I saw!. Pool-side Briefing.After looking at topographic maps of where we would be going and checking out our itinerary yet again we piled back into mini-buses and headed out to a school to thank the kids for meeting us at the airport. We were greeted by children with locally grown sweet potato cooked as chips delicious especially after not having eaten anything of substance all day airline and airport food really doesn t cut it! . We were all given coconut drinks an actual full coconut that had been frozen and was still icy cold. I am not a huge coconut fan unless it is in a curry but it was so hot and the coconut milk was cool and refreshing. I found that by the end of the drink I was actually enjoying it.. Beautiful Students.The school itself was far from any school I have seen before. There was a single classroom in a shed and surprisingly enough a computer room library. The school is a not for profit organisation that focuses on teaching the children English literacy there are over 800 languages spoken in PNG and the life skills that the children will need irrespective of whether they end up living existing in the city or returning to their villages. As a result the school garden is a huge priority..