Supporting education and related programs for the empowerment
of children, youth and their communities in the Asia Pacific

De La Salle College Bomana APPEAL

No electricity, no running water, makeshift housing, drugs, alcohol, gambling, crime, domestic violence. Life is tough and unpredictable. This is reality for many young people living in the settlements around Port Moresby. So boys like Jeremiah* are looking for a way out. A way to create a better future, a better life.

Jeremiah’s family lives in a small village in the Gulf Province about three hours’ north west of the capital of Papua New Guinea (PNG). His parents never attended school and are subsistence farmers, growing sweet potatoes and vegetables, and raising pigs and chickens on their small plot of land. He is one of five children, three boys and two girls. Jeremiah’s parents did not enrol any of their children into primary school but Jeremiah really wanted to go to school so he enrolled himself into St Margaret’s Catholic Primary School at Brown River.

Despite struggling with his studies, Jeremiah was accepted into one of the high schools in Port Moresby for Year 9 and 10. In Year 11, he was accepted into a senior high school but his family could not afford the 6,000 kina (A$2,437) annual school fees. So he was forced to stay home for a year. During that year, he decided to write to the National Capital District Guidance office for support as he was determined to finish high school. For several months, he checked the Guidance noticeboard every Tuesday, hoping to see his name. Finally in 2016, the office announced Jeremiah had been given a place at De La Salle College Bomana, on the outskirts of Port Moresby. 


Nine Mile settlement; Jeremiah (seated in the middle) with his Year 11 class

 

It is not possible to travel from home to school every day, so he lives with his auntie, uncle and three cousins or “wantok” at Nine Mile settlement, which is close to Bomana. It is very common for both primary and secondary school students throughout PNG to live with wantok to access school, particularly those from remote villages as there may not be a local primary or secondary school available nearby. Many of these young students go for months without seeing their parents and siblings in order to gain their education. When Jeremiah first arrived in Port Moresby, he used to struggle with being homesick as he could only see his family a few times a year, during the school holidays and then only if there was enough money for bus fare.

Jeremiah recently wrote:


He wants to become an engineer. When he finishes Year 12 at Bomana, Jeremiah will be the first person in his family to be literate and the first to complete secondary school. He is a good student who is diligent, determined and hardworking.

You can save young people like Jeremiah from a lifetime of illiteracy and limited opportunities with as little as $68.

This year, the De La Salle Brothers returned to the management of De La Salle College Bomana after years of lay leadership, with Brother Antony Swamy leading the renewal and redevelopment of the college. This school is important in Lasallian history as the De La Salle Brothers first arrived in PNG in 1946 establishing their first community and primary school at Bomana. In 1947, the school was moved to Yule Island. De La Salle College Bomana was established as a boys’ boarding school when the Brothers returned to Bomana in 1964, and it is one of the oldest schools in the country. It became a boys’ day school in 2009.

The majority of the 1,200 Bomana students are just like Jeremiah, from low-income families living in the settlements. There are also some more mature 20-something year old school drop outs who have returned to school after finding it difficult to find work without their Year 10 and/or Year 12 certificate. The college aims to not only develop the students academically but also to improve their behaviour, attitude, morale, and to strengthen their life values.

Please help change the life of one of the 1,200 students like Jeremiah at De La Salle College Bomana by donating today.

Over the years, due to wear and tear, lack of funds, poor building management and maintenance, the buildings and facilities have deteriorated. The school used to spend a significant percentage of funds to maintain the buildings, facilities and essential school services, and could ask parents and the local community for project fees. However, Government policy changes now prevent schools from making requests to parents for these additional financial contributions towards school development and maintenance, making it even more difficult for Bomana and other schools to fund the maintenance and upgrades of their infrastructure, facilities and equipment.

Renovations and upgrading of the basic classroom infrastructure, electricals, and educational resources are the key priorities for the college. This project is seen as a key priority in coming years for the De La Salle Brothers of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea (PNG), and has strong support from Cardinal John Ribat, the country’s first ever cardinal. The college will also continue to receive donated school resources and equipment such as reference and text books and computers from Australia via the shipping container project.

Brother Antony working with Brother Thomas, Brother Shashi and their dedicated team have already commenced work building a new student toilet block, installing clean drinking water facilities and reconfiguring the administration office, with $165,000 already raised by the Lasallian Foundation for this renovation.

In order to support the continued redevelopment of the school and to provide quality education these boys deserve, we need your help. Your gift can help with:

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text books

$1,820

Bus fares and lunch money

$127

Stationery such as pens and pencils

$68

Sports equipment and uniforms for football, basketball and volleyball 

$492

Your support will help enable another young person like Jeremiah to have the opportunity to finish secondary school, the first step to really transform their lives. Your support of education in PNG will ensure Jeremiah and his friends will have better options for their future.

 

*Student’s name changed for privacy reasons