Thank you so much for your assistance with our scholarship program this year. This letter is a report about the scholarship program from 2009. I hope it will encourage you. Your reward is in heaven!
If you want any more information, please feel free to write and ask.
As you already know, all students in Papua New Guinea pay a fee to attend school, and because most people have either no cash income or barely enough to live on, many cannot afford this, especially in later grades as the fees go up substantially. Because of this, we missionaries in Alotau desired to help many of our young people continue their educations, but we wanted to do it in such a way that the students themselves felt as if they were participating in the achievement. We felt that this would help them value it. Therefore we made a program that combines scholarships provided by generous people like yourselves with community service that the young people do in order to receive the scholarships.
As you know, our committee of local Christians takes applications from students and then decides award amounts. This year, they gave most good applications a half tuition scholarship. A few exceptions were made for people who had uniquely difficult family situations. After they decided the award amount, they assigned a number of days of community service for each child/family to work. Those work days were carried out in the month of January. After the work was completed, we paid the fees directly to the school’s bank accounts, and school began in February.
A Few Stories:
Doreen Pahilele has been a Christian for several years. In the very beginning of our mission work, she and her sister Garimea (also a scholarship recipient) would walk over an hour from their village to church every Sunday. They have continued faithfully through high school, and we were all pleased when Doreen was selected to go to teacher college. What a wonderful opportunity for a Christian to influence so many young people! However, there was no way Doreen’s family could have paid so much, so she was awarded scholarship money from our program both in 2008 and in 2009. In 2009, this was especially important, because the partial scholarship she had been awarded by the government never materialized. The government had run out of funds, and so revoked scholarships for all second year students. She would not have been able to attend without your help. She expects to graduate with her teacher certification at the end of this year.
Lydia Tanby had already had to sit out of school for one year because of no funds to pay her school fees. Her parents became Christians in 2008, and her father died soon after, leaving her no hope at all for continuing her education. She and her mother were very grateful for the opportunity to continue her education thanks to the scholarship program. God truly does take care of the fatherless.
Stewart Ambrose is a young man who had been taken in by the Lautevateva Church of Christ, a small church about 45 minute’s drive from town. After years of family neglect, he had no hope at all for continuing his education, because no one cared about him enough to pay for his schooling. Robert Taukum, one of the Christians who has encouraged and housed him, worked very hard to get his outstanding school fees from the last 8 years of schooling lowered, and we were able to pay his outstanding fees so that he could receive his grade 8 certificate. Not only that, but Robert also worked hard to arrange for him to attend a vocational school. His tuition was fully paid by the program. Before, he had no land and no hope for an education, which so often leads to a life of crime and despair. But now he as an opportunity to study a trade at a vocational school thanks to the generosity of many.
The message we tried to tell the students was this: Someone cares about you. God sees your need, and He loves you. Use your life to pass on that love to others.
The Program in Numbers:
We helped 99 students this year. The money given in scholarships to date totalled 28,812.50 Kina ($10,084.38).
13 elementary students (grades prep-2)
49 primary students (grades 3-8)
30 secondary students (grades 9-12)
7 tertiary students (one nursing student, 3 teachers college students, and 3 university students)
The community service was carried out during two weeks in January. This is the hardest work of the program, and the best part of it, too, as the young people who are receiving blessings are given an opportunity to pass them on also. During the two weeks the students and their families did the following jobs:
1) Cleaned up rubbish around town
2) Cut grass and cleaned up around the Provincial AIDS Council’s office
3) Cut grass along the road leading to the hospital
4) Cleaned up rubbish around the hospital area
5) Cleaned and weeded 3 local schools
6) Cut roofing materials for the Gama Church of Christ
7) Cleaned up around the Gama Church of Christ
8) Collected firewood for people at the hospital
We are so thankful for those of you who made this possible.
The 2010 Program:
We are now organizing the committee for 2010. Because of the large number of applications last year, we have decided to limit applications to secondary students. We will also continue to help any tertiary students who have already received assistance. This will help us manage the community service days because the students working will all be older, and will also help those students who have the highest fees and have worked hard to gain entrance to high school.
Please consider helping again next year. Any amount will be a blessing. Like last year, we need to have all funds in by January, 2010. Laura Schroeder or Westover Hills Church of Christ has kindly agreed to collect contributions for the 2010 program. The checks can be written out to Westover Hills Church of Christ. Please attach a note or put in the memo that they are for the PNG scholarship program. Here is her address:
PNG Scholarship Program
8524 Burnet Road Apt. 432
Austin, TX 78757
Thank you so much,