India can help PNG greatly, says association

NCD Governor Powes Pakop, State Enterprises Minister Sasindra Muthuvel, Prime Minister James Marape and his wife Rachel with the Members of the India Association of PNG during the Indian fundraising gala night at Hilton Hotel in Port Moresby last week Saturday. Picture by Aihi Oa

By Aihi Oa

India can help Papua New Guinea greatly to develop more human resources at lower costs at its universities and colleges to address unemployment and poverty in the country.

India Association of Papua New Guinea (IAPNG) secretary, Saju Francis made this comment during the 39th annual Indian fundraising gala night at Hilton Hotel in Port Moresby last week.

Mr Francis said India and PNG share many similarities in history, culture and politics where some of the challenges and problems affecting PNG were experienced by India in the past but they have managed to become a leading emerging global economy power because it has invested heavily on education with indigenously developed curriculum and technologies.

“We got independence in 1947 with pools of bloodshed. We built up a new nation with our hard work and resilience. Our visionary leaders have invested in human resource than depending on the natural resource as we are the second largest populous country with 1.3 billion populations.

“They made hundreds of universities and professional colleges, invested more in agricultural sectors,” Mr Francis said.

He said India is eager and ready to educate PNG to produce more professionals in science, medicine, agriculture, technology, accounting and so forth but PNG was reluctant to send students to study in tertiary institutions in India where it prefers other countries in the region where the costs of studying in universities and colleges are too high compared to India.

“In my 16 years of living in PNG, working with hundreds of colleagues (teachers) and thousands of students, I can confidently say India and Indians can help PNG more than any other nation in the world. I believe PNG should send hundreds of students for university education to India less than half of the cost of other countries.

“After all, out of 35, 000 secondary students only 7000 students are getting into tertiary institutions in PNG and the remaining 28, 000 school dropouts are adding to the club of jobless youths on the streets. They will later become a liability to the nation if we don’t help them. Many of them are really talented with great potential. If we shape and mold them properly, they can become the pillars in nation building. Give them to us we will train them and return them back as useful citizens in four years’ time,” Francis, who is also the principal of Gerehu Secondary, said.

Mr Francis also thanked Prime Minister James Marape, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Sasindra Muthuvel, outgoing United States Ambassador Catherine Ebert-Gray, High Commissioner of India Vijay Kumar, NCD Governor Powes Parkop, invited dignitaries and corporate sponsors for attending the fundraising. He said IAPNG was committed to foster friendship with the people of Papua New Guinea.

Mr Francis said over the years IAPNG has helped many schools, hospitals and many other community related services. Some of the beneficiaries are Cheshire Home, PNG Children’s Foundation, PNG Cancer Foundation, City Mission, Anglicare, Kila Kila Secondary, Cameron Secondary, Gerehu Secondary, Gerehu General Hospital, Port Moresby General Hospital and many more.

“This year IAPNG has donated 100 wheelchairs imported from India to help every government health centre, clinic and hospital in NCD, and donated 12 laptop computers to Gerehu Secondary School.

“Besides this they have helped police and other community related services. Every year they reach their assistance to the marginalised underprivileged society through the Sisters of Missionaries of Charity, Sisters of Charity St Ann and DMI Sisters to help the poor people.

“The association collected Trukai rice bags from Trukai Industries in previous years as gifts and donated them to villages through the selfless service of Charity Sisters from India and PNG. Meri Seif Bus was the concept IAPNG implemented successfully with the support of NCDC where they have made many bus shelters in the city for the public convenience,’’ Mr Francis, who is also the deputy principal of Gerehu Secondary School, said.

The secretary also acknowledged all the corporate sponsors and individuals who supported the fundraising event and said to book a table in the India night means a lot as it will help the underprivileged members of the community.

The fundraiser has raised more than K160, 000 from various Indian individuals and families and corporate support from companies in Port Moresby including Big Rooster, Moni Plus, NCDC, Kramer Ausenco, Badili Hardware, City Pharmacy, Goodman Fielder International, and Pure Math Solutions among others.

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