Mary Help of Christians Vocational Education Training FODE Centre (MHCVETFC) 1st Graduation
By Sr. Alice S. Fulgencio, FMA
Port Moresby, PNG, 10 December 2022 -- The aphorism “God writes straight with crooked lines” aptly describes the journey of Mary Help of Christians Vocational Education Training FODE Centre in its first year of operation. The school is one of the newest vocational and FODE registered study centers in Port Moresby which has received its funding for the four-year project from the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) obtained through Don Bosco Mondo. This project is the “Social and economic empowerment of young marginalized women and contribution to gender justice”.
In spite of ten weeks delay in the opening of the academic year and regardless of the many challenges and difficulties, the Centre held its first graduation ceremony for twenty-two students who qualified for the National Certificate 1 in Commercial Cookery (12 students) and Office Administration (10 students) on the 8th of December 2022 as certified by the Academic Advisory Committee with members coming from Department of Education - TVET and other institutions.
In their keynote speeches, both Ms. Nigl Zerike, Assistant Secretary for TVET Curriculum and E-Learning of the Department of Education (representing Mrs. Annemarie Kona, Deputy Secretary for Policy & Corporate Services Directorate) and Mr. Aisop Mo, District Administrator of Moresby South, (representing Hon. Justin Tkatchenko, Member - Moresby South) noted that the school is answering the immense need for educational institutions in the country and in the National Capital District. It caters to the marginalized, to those who have little opportunities because they have not passed the national exams and therefore, they are not selected in any school. In addition, they emphasized that the school does not merely provide skills but molds hearts through ‘Value Education’.
MHCVETFC is a school of second chances as attested to by the students themselves especially during the visit of the Don Bosco Mondo Project Consultant, Mr. Steffen Marziniak from the 15th to the 20th of November. In this particular encounter, the young women spontaneously shared their personal stories on how having been accepted by the institution has given them hope for the future and not anymore to feel marginalized simply for being women in a society that has still much to change in terms of how it considers and treats women.
In her thank you speech, the headgirl and recipient of the school’s leadership award, Heautani Babona, mentioned how the state-of-the art facilities used in their training make them well-prepared in their course. She also thanked Sisters and her teachers for their guidance and for instilling confidence in the students.
The presence of the officials from the government, from the Department of Education, TVET Wing, the Board of Management members, partners from the industry and companies, sponsors and benefactors attests to the synergy in networking that the institution has forged as it seeks to engage more stakeholders in the field of education.
A proof that there is already an impact in the holistic education being given to the students is the fact that after the ceremony, the Leadership awardee has been given a calling card by Ms. Evonne Kennedy, the Executive Director of Business Coalition for Women and was told to write a letter of application. This is because of the poise and assurance shown by Heautani Babona. Two other benefactors show interest in engaging her and other awardees.
“God writes straight with crooked lines” in the lives of these young women and in the journey of the school that gives second chances.