Charity Name: From Me To PNG
Tagline: Sending school resources from NZ to PNG kids
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Associated Citizens featured on TOWNHALL: Sam O’Connell, Rachel O’Connell
What is From Me To PNG all about?
We are a non for profit organisation that sends donated school resources ranging in all types – reading books, journals, exercise books, pens, pencils, educational games, and sports equipment to Papua New Guinea. We build and improve educational facilities like libraries in small villages in order to give these children in developing countries equal opportunities. These facilities enable the children to have a better education, and a chance to explore their potential talents in sport, arts, reading and writing.
How long have you been operating?
A year and a half
Where did the idea start?
My sister and I grew up in Papua New Guinea so we have always felt as though Papua New Guinea is part of who we are. We both grew to understand the state of the education in Papua New Guinea and that the children we grew up with were not gaining an education, and not given a chance to play the sports they love. After talking about it one afternoon, the idea developed and without hesitation we started our work, we are so excited to be able to give back to the community that raised us.
How do TOWNHALL Citizens or visitors get involved? Are you open to collaboration – if so, what kind?
We are always looking for new donors or individuals who can facilitate donations. Get involved by getting in touch with us if you or know of anyone who can potentially donate any sort of school resources in good condition.
Yes, we are very open to new collaborations, especially with schools or organisations that hold fairs or book fairs in particular as they are our main donors. We also welcome the chance to develop and grow as an organisation and there is so many inspiring people out there for us to meet and influence us.
Do you have any success stories?
We do! In July, 2017 we built our first library in Kainantu, Papua New Guinea. We were able to transform a library at a school that holds over 7,000 kids. The library had not been open in 2 years, there was no electricity, 80% of the books were either unreadable or not appropriate for primary school children and it was infested by rats. We were able to transform this library into a fully functioning library, with thousands of new books, games, puzzles and shelves. We painted the library and installed electricity to make it child-friendly. Then decorated it with educational posters to enhance learning. Children and adults of all ages were picking up and reading for the first time, it was not only educational but brought so much joy and excitement! We really knew at that point that what we were doing was going to make an impact.
Another success story, is our partnership with the Great ASB Book Fair – we are able to collect thousands of books a year because of them – making what we do possible!
Do you have a project on TOWNHALL or an important event or mission coming up?
Yes – we are looking at building our second library in Papua New Guinea in 2018. See here.
Are you raising funds for anything specific?
Yes we want to be able to build our second library in Papua New Guinea in 2018 so we are rallying for school resource donations! We also want to be able to provide sports equipment and programs at the schools, as we think this is such an important part of a child’s development.
Any interesting fact you can share?
The population for Papua New Guinea is 8 million – half of their population is illiterate, this is like the whole of NZ being unable to read or write.
This literacy rate is the worst in the Asia and Pacific region.
Papua New Guinea is known as ‘poverty of opportunity’ because although they have the potential to become successful due to a lack of thorough education there are little opportunities for youth. Mainly because they are going to school and expected to learn off little to no resources and therefore potential and talents are being wasted away.
What’s the overall vision for From Me To PNG?
We want to install over 100 libraries in Papua New Guinea and we especially want to open a fully functioning sport development program as part of From me to PNG to allow children to explore their potential talents and passions on the sporting field.
We also understand that there are many other developing countries that have a similar issue in education facilities therefore we would like to extend our work outside of Papua New Guinea and to countries like the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Sri Lanka.
What’s your ‘why’?
We believe that all children deserve an equal chance at life, an equal chance to learn and prosper, and equal chance to find what they’re passionate about and to fulfill their potential. We want to give them the resources to find what makes them happy and allow them to follow their dreams. Children are the future of any country, right ?
Anything else you’d like to add or that you think we should know?
We are a fairly new organisation with a lot to learn and improve, with big visions and goals for the future. We are always looking for new people who believe what we are fighting for is worth it and would like to add bright ideas and drive to the organisation.