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2023.11.11 14:09

6185_Working in Silence

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By Sr. Carmina Rhea Pajarillo FMA

Kokopo, Papua New Guinea, 11 November 2023 - Our Bl. Maria Troncatti community in Tapo, Bitapaka, Kokopo, led by Sr. Guadalupe Ruiz-Rojas, has an ongoing project entitled: Promoting women’s empowerment and environmental protection in Kokopo and surrounding villages in Papua New Guinea. This is a fitting response to this invitation from the head of the Salesian Family. Thus, like yeast in today’s human family, we become yeasts. The good yeast helps the bread of the human family grow and become more flavorsome. This work is done in silence, in an unnoticeable way, and yet we believe it will bring fruitfulness and growth in the kingdom of God in the hearts of the people, especially in the locality we are living in.

The ongoing project in partnership with Misean Cara, an Irish NGO, started in June 2022 when the FMA community here in Tapo, composed of Sr. Pamela, Sr. Aniceta, and Sr. Jolanta, saw the girls, single mothers, and mothers with fewer opportunities to study. The Sisters thought of helping these women learn some skills so that they may be empowered, earn a living, and help their families to be better. Hence, the project with Misean Cara came to be.

The project was launched with the first batch of trainees in the basic sewing course on March 6, 2023, with Sr. Bui Thi Haoi Yen Maria as the trainer. There were ten women, single and married, young and old, who joined the pioneering class of the Mary Help of Christians Training Center. During the two-month training course, the women were taught how to sew and received formation on Salesianity, human rights, personality development, Christian values, and Laudato Si. They also have moments of sharing on the Sunday Gospel reading every Monday. On their graduation day on April 29, 2023, the trainees expressed their deepest gratitude to the Sisters who thought of their welfare, helped them improve their being and living, and empowered them to become better persons. They also felt blessed to have the opportunity to build friendships among themselves with the constant encounters they had in coming to the center. Of the ten pioneering batch of trainees, four of them were able to find work. Two were asked to help Sr. Maria Yen in the next batches of training and the two were employed in Jing Mark, a sewing shop here in Kokopo.

The center is just starting and the Sisters have great hope that the “yeast” of knowledge they poured into the minds and hearts of the women in Tapo will continue to work in silence and empower more women to become “yeasts” themselves and help build the kingdom of God starting from their families then to the community.

The second batch of the sewing class and the first batch of the one-month cooking class with Sr. Juliet De Leon as trainer have finished their training. More batches of women are expected to enroll for training in the coming months and years. The Sisters envision that this program of empowering women won’t end when the project period is finished; it will continue for women who need assistance, training, and empowerment.

Our community is under the protection of Bl. Maria Troncatti and we're grateful for the opportunity to do good to our neighbors, parishioners, and those coming from far areas. Through this project, we have met people from the government sector, other religious congregations, parishes, institutions, and companies who are willing to partner with us in some ways to help in the Mary Help of Christian Centre and with other activities like the training of agents about climate change and human rights with the purpose of making awareness on such issues in the villages, schools, and parishes.

As yeast performs fermentation and grows, we ask God to allow the women to practice what they learned so that they will improve their way of living and relating with each other, especially in their relationship with God. Do keep us and our mission of Tapo in your prayers.












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