Caritas Technical School, Boroko
Boroko, PNG, 5 October 2018 -- Ms Esther Mwayemwana hails from the Trobriand Islands (MBP). She has been teaching at Caritas for the past 10 years and has helped several young ladies find their rightful place in society. She shares her thoughts.
My journey as a teacher brought me to Caritas Technical Secondary School in 2008. Having completed 23 years at the public schools, I took my furlough leave for 10 months, from the normal education system. Overcome by boredom, I applied to Caritas Technical School, Port Moresby.
Little did I realize that my life would change dramatically. God had a plan and a purpose for me here at Caritas. While at the school, I came to know about the Salesian Preventive System and about Don Bosco. I was inspired. This motivated me to support the Caritas Sisters of Jesus in their mission and vision to help young girls. I have completed 10 years of teaching here at Caritas, four years have been as Principal of the institute (2014-17).
Caritas Technical Secondary School has a very well-established value-based system. The students are guided and learn to become responsible. Every Monday morning during the assembly, teachers give the morning talk on a virtue. Students are encouraged to practise the virtue during the week and imbibe it for the rest of their lives. Embracing these values help them become better people in the world. The Eucharist is celebrated every Thursday by the Salesian priest from the neighbouring Don Bosco Technological Institute, Boroko. Recollections are held during the year for all the students. The school also has “home room sessions” where the class patron or matron attends to the personal needs of the students and teachers. Some girls share with their teachers’ life-issues and this gives the teacher the possibility to guide and help the students.
The challenges that our students face are many. God has opened my heart to show love and compassion, the Salesian way and I have seen the transformation in their lives. Permit me to share my personal experience of dealing with the students. I have changed their name so as to hide their identity.
Miriam, (not her real name) enrolled as a Pre-11 student. She did not have a permanent place to stay. Sadly, there are many who do not have a secure home. Miriam moved from one house to another. She lost weight and started to miss classes and fall behind in her work. Realizing her insecurity, my late husband and I opened our home to her. We took care of her until she completed her schooling here and went on to college. Recognizing her capabilities and talent, the school put her on a scholarship in Korea for one year. Today, she is a chef at one of the leading hotels in the city.
Matilda, (not her real name) was a rebellious child at home. She enrolled here in 2014, as a grade 9 student. The Salesian Preventive system, being surrounded by good friends and a patron who was willing to be patient and listen to her, changed her completely. Once she was sent to my office. We spoke and shared about the issues she faced in life. “Matilda, at Caritas, you will find the truth about yourself and be free”, I told her. Her face lit up and with tears in her eyes said that she will obey her parents and do her best. From that day on, Matilda did as she promised. She completed year 12. She became the Senior Vice School Captain last year. Her non-Catholic parents are delighted and proud of her. The things she has learnt and done at school changed her life. Today, she is at a Technical College here in Port Moresby and is engaged in the children’s ministry in her Church.
There are many students like Miriam and Matilda who have come here to Caritas Technical Institute, Boroko. They have changed and are young women ready to go out and live a better life knowing that through Christ Our Lord, there is hope.
I have enjoyed teaching and working with many young people. I thank the Lord for the 33 years of my teaching career.
The Lord has been my strength. May the Lord, assist me to help and guide many more young ladies.