Eleven people recently graduated from an adult literacy program held in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea (PNG). The training was organized by Seventh-day Adventist church pastor Henry Mevat and his wife, Mandeline, who identified a need in the community. They supported the program with the help of regional Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) coordinator Linda Francis and the Children’s and Women’s Ministries director in the New Britain New Ireland Mission, Dianne Pelap.
The program has had a significant impact in the community of Mandress by teaching the participants how to read, write, count, multiply, and divide. The training also covered topics such as family budgeting, family planning, gender-based violence, child protection, family health, the environment and conservation, pollution, human rights, and the justice system.
Community ward member Samuel Tom said one of his aims in government is to increase literacy amongst mothers, fathers, and young people in his community. He added that the Seventh-day Adventist Church and ADRA PNG are already working in this area, and he will provide whatever support they need. He also pledged to give two sewing machines to the literacy school to teach adult mothers how to sew, so they can earn personal income and support their families.
Representative of the local Member of Parliament Beddie Jubilee, a human resource manager, said adult literacy is the key to human resource development. “We have been wasting money on infrastructure,” she said. “The government roll-out of adult literacy was planned 40 years ago but was never implemented, although the funding was made available.”
Jubilee said she will be working closely with ADRA and the Adventist Church in Kokopo to ensure that funding is released to train more mothers and fathers in the community so that literacy levels are increased.
New Britain New Ireland Mission president Garry Laukei said he supports the initiative. “Adult literacy is one of the many ways that the Adventist Church can impact the community for Jesus,” he said.