This is the first Skills Training Project that the Commonwealth of Learning sponsored. The training was conducted in Bereina, Papua New Guinea. It started on March 16 – 20 and was completed on May 4 – 8, 2020. It was participated by twenty-two (22) ladies, who mainly tend their homes and gardens and come from the four villages namely, Inauia, Eboa, Iesubaibua and Angabanga.
The gap in the training schedule was due to the implementation of the State of Emergency here in Papua New Guinea to prevent the spread of COVID-19. After the first week of training, we (Sr. Lucy, SSJ, Sr. Concep, SSJ and team) came to Port Moresby to replenish our training needs and materials and went back to Bereina on March 22, 2020. Since the lock-down was announced and will be implemented on March 24, we advised our trainees to go back to their villages and homes and we traveled back to Port Moresby on the same day.
As soon as the boundary restrictions was uplifted, we returned to Bereina for the completion of the basic sewing and cooking courses with our trainees.
Fellowship is part of our daily schedule followed by an Input on a particular topic for the day. The usual topics given during the whole course include the following: Introducing the SSJs and their Founders, PersonalHygiene, Spirituality of Work and Financial Literacy.
The students in cooking and baking were very grateful for the skills acquired. They were very happy to learn new ways of cooking and they can cook and bake, now, for their families and communities. They could not believe that green [unripe] papaya could be used as vegetables because for them papaya is for the pigs. Banana blossom is very delicious as salad. From now on, banana blossoms will no more be left rotten in their gardens.
The sewing ladies were very happy to learn how to sew and to have their brand-new dresses. Having learned the skill of sewing, they want to pass this on to their children and grandchildren. Some of them said that they will continue to practice what they have learned and later accept sewing orders and help augment their family income.
|Sr. Lucy giving instructions to the trainees|
We were able to teach also the students how to make face masks, especially at this time that the wearing of masks is obligatory in schools. The cooking students were taught how to sew by hand while the sewing students used their machines. They were really very happy to acquire this additional knowledge because they can now sew face masks for their children.
|Sr. Concep making masks with the trainees|
As women who participated in the training and coming from different villages, they were grateful because they were given importance and the opportunity to learn the skills in sewing, cooking and baking using the basic materials and ingredients they have in their backyard. For those who had no chance to go to school at all, they were happy that now they can cook more recipes and bake. It was very inspiring, too, to see them helping and supporting one another and sharing whatever they have with each other regardless of beliefs and places of origin.
All the collaborators in this particular project were our former students in cooking and sewing coming from Bereina. It is to our advantage to have them because of the language. The students expressed that they were able to understand the instructions better because it is in their language, especially in sewing when they are taught how to take body measurements and to draft the pattern.
|Collaborators(former students) teaching the trainees |
body measurements and pattern drafting
As we concluded the training with a simple graduation, we all felt blessed by our God for the blissful experiences we had.
The graduates were so happy for the skills they acquired and on our part, we were so happy for the empowerment that the training have brought to them, enabling them to cultivate their talents and to rediscover the beauty and the strength within them as women.
SSJ-PNG Livelihood Skills Training Programme, 11 May 2020