Education is key to a successful future. Providing children with the opportunity to learn and develop is a vital pathway to them being able to fully contribute to their family, community, and nation.
The Oil Search Foundation (OSF), through its Community Development Program, wants to improve literacy levels in elementary and primary schools. . A solid start in early childhood education has been shown to help children do well across their schooling years.
In Hela Province, OSF in partnership with Buk Bilong Pikinini, the Provincial Education Division, school boards, church partners and the community members has built two literacy libraries in Fugwa and Habare.
Over the past five years, these libraries have catered for 600 students aged between four to six years who have learnt to read and write in basic English.
An emotional father from the Fugwa community shed tears when he heard his son fluently read for the first time from a book during his morning class, “We only speak our native Huli language, but today as I watched my son confidently read, my heart is full of joy.”
Apart from reading and writing, the children are also taught good behaviours and manners, showing respect at are encouraged to teach others what they learn in school, which includes basic handwashing and other healthy habits.
A teacher at Habare Literacy Library, Pale Mbipe said, “This early childhood centre has positively impacted the lives of our community members. Fathers who thought it is the responsibility of a mother to take their children to school have changed their views. A lot more dads are seen bringing their kids to class, because they now understand the value it has for them and their families in the long run.”
She went on to say “We are also grateful for the support that OSF provides through local NGO, Buk Bilong Pikinini in building the capacity of our teachers. We are provided ongoing training, mentoring, and monitoring support, which has helped us effectively run the libraries. Our centre’s performance is recognised by the community and we are so grateful to OSF for investing in the next generation of Hela leaders.”
OSF Chief Program Officer, Jean Martin said, “A child’s early years are the foundation for his or her future development. Our support to Fugwa and Habare is to nurture caring, capable, and responsible future citizens. Simply put, early childhood education helps the children gain the necessary academic, emotional, and social skills to prosper in life.”