|Anglicare Adult Literacy students attentively listen during class in Port Moresby. © Anglicare PNG 2017.
Used with permission.
The following update was written by Warren Waghi, an Adult Literacy teacher with Anglicare PNG, and Darwin Gabore, the Port Moresby Adult Literacy Centre Manager*.
“From my research and observations of Anglicare Adult Literacy students from Level 1 to Level 4, I have noticed a common trend of behaviour that intrigued me. The eagerness of the students, their solid commitment in attending classes, and their obedience to their teachers’ instructions has indicated to me that education is treasured above any other thing. In discovering and celebrating this eagerness, I also learnt with sadness the stories of these students, many of whom come from extremely poor and broken homes.
One story that particularly struck me was that of a student named John John."
Escape from a life of crime
John John is the eldest child in his family. He was in primary school when his parents divorced. His father left his mother, and remarried another woman when he was in grade 6.
Left without the primary bread-winner, John John struggled to continue his education, but eventually had to withdraw as there was no money for bus fares or daily meals.
Hungry and desperate, he joined up with the gangs of “youth boys” on the streets, and soon was involved in petty crimes. He survived on the food that he stole, feeding himself with whatever he could find.
For 10 years, John John was heavily involved in petty crimes and other criminal activities of the street gangs. Deep inside, however, he knew that this was not the way to a successful life.
In 2013, an opportunity arose to study Business Literacy Sustainability Training, run through an Urban Youth Development Project. The course sparked John John’s interest immediately, and he enrolled to attend. The course gave him hope, giving him the courage to turn away from a life of crime, and showing him the importance of education.
In 2015, John John became a student with the Anglicare Literacy Centre. While studying with Anglicare at Level 4 Literacy, he was so inspired by the teaching he was receiving, and his old mindsets continued to change. The devotional prayer time before the class, the holistic teaching of life skills, hygiene, proper nutrition, healthcare and protection of vulnerable people like children that was given in classes, and of course the confidence of sound literacy and numerous skills have given him hope and a sense of direction. It helped him to see that everything is possible through God, and that nothing is solved through crime.
When asked about his dreams for the future, and how he liked the Adult literacy course, John John responded;
“I was so pleased with the Anglicare Literacy Centre as it provided me a second chance in education, and a pathway to a successful life. After completing level 4, I will do my vocational training and become Air Conditioning and Refrigerator technician.
“They [my street peers] have noticed me coming to school and realized that I have changed my habits. I have already told some of my peers to attend Anglicare Literacy Centre to further their education and get employed.”
ABM is proud to support the Anglicare Adult Literacy program in Papua New Guinea, and thanks all of our supporters who have given so generously to keep this good work going.
*Edits on this update were done by Jess Melas, ABM's Project Marketing Officer.