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Santos funded OSF has sponsored a group of ten dedicated teachers from rural communities in Hela and Gulf provinces to attend the annual Buk bilong Pikinini (BbP) teacher refresher training in Port Moresby this week as part of the Foundation’s commitment towards investing in early childhood education in PNG.

The group comprising of seven women and three men from Fugwa and Habare in Hela and Kikori in Gulf Province joins 40 other early childhood educators from around the country committed to help the next generation of Papua New Guineans build their education journey from a solid foundation.

Unprecedently this year, the refresher training will include an introduction to digital learning providing innovative ways to access reading materials. This will greatly reduce the challenges of physically moving large quantities of books from Port Moresby to literacy libraries located in the Santos project impact area communities in Hela, Gulf and Southern Highlands Provinces.

OSF and BbP have over 6 years of partnership aimed at developing early childhood learning in PNG through various development programs and trainings apart from the establishment of literacy libraries targeting children aged 4-6 in the Santos project areas.

So far, a total of four literacy libraries were established under this partnership however, one was destroyed during a recent local unrest. Over 840 children have graduated from the OSF literacy library program since 2018.

Cathy Morris, a basic literacy teacher of 80 children in Kikori says it wasn’t an easy journey leaving her family behind in a remote place to travel to Port Moresby. However, she says seeing the positive results of the literacy library in her community over the years motivates her to continue making an impact through her role as an early childhood educator.

Pale Mbipe of Hela says Early Childhood learning programs are rare in Fugwa and North Koroba.

“We want to see the children excel in early childhood learning so they can continue to elementary schools equipped with the fundamental tools they need,”
- Pale Mbipe

Meanwhile, Rose Stanley from Hela Province says before the OSF literacy library was introduced, children in her community would enter elementary schools without a form of reading skill.

“The introduction of the literacy library has significantly improved the children’s learning and life in general, which is something their parents and communities are very proud of,” Stanley said.

The Santos funded OSF is currently working on establishing a literacy library in Pimaga, Southern Highlands province with plans to have the library opened in December this year.