Friday, May 19, 2014 – Finschhafen, Morobe Province, PNG: Kolem Elementary School in Finschhafen, Morobe province, is the first recipient in the district to benefit from the establishment of a double classroom funded by Digicel PNG Foundation. The facility was built at a cost of K140, 000 and comes with two classrooms and an office space in between with solar power lighting system, 20 desks, a 5000 litre water tank, and two ventilated improved pit latrines. Head Master Etap Gemotang expressed gratitude to Digicel Foundation for establishing the permanent learning facility. “We are honoured to have had Digicel Foundation come to our aid of a permanent double classroom that will greatly enhance our pupils learning environment. We are extremely privileged and proud to be the first school in the area to benefit from the Foundation’s education infrastructure development programme,” Gemotang said. The school has been operating from three rundown classrooms made of bush materials. The new classroom has not only enhanced the teaching environment, it has motivated students and showcases to the community the opportunities that are available if there is community ownership at all levels; and good governance at the highest levels in schools. Kolem Elementary School has served the Kolem, Kalawa, Simbang and Bullawang villages for over 40 years and will continue to serve to meet their half a century celebrations. Digicel PNG Foundation CEO Beatrice Mahuru said the Foundation is privileged to be a part of the history of this locality especially in the area of providing quality infrastructure to service the rural remote population of 2,300 people.
To date, Digicel Foundation has funded: 410 community-based projects across 22 provinces in PNG and has reinvested K42.5 million into marginalized communities that has had a direct impact on more than 300,000 people. The Foundation plans to continue funding community projects in the areas of basic education and health with the aim of supporting communities as they become more self-reliant.