By Rachael Shisei – EM TV News, Madang
The Manam islanders are confronted with significant challenges.
With limited land to find building materials, to plant food and with the poor sanitation, their only hope now is in the future of their children.
The leaders are looking to build a strong human resource base. A new generation that is not reliant on the land.
“With experiences so far at the Care Centres, education is the only hope so our children can turn around, look after themselves and us when we are old,” said Herman Bade, a teacher at the Potsdam Elementary School.
But with last year’s 8 months drought, schooling for the children and the food shortages prevented that much needed education from happening.
“We have to have all the children from last year repeating this year along with those enrolling for this year, but we will be knocking off at lunchtime because they are hungry,” Julie Kebai, another teacher at the Potsdam Care Centres Elementary school said.
Not being able to plant enough and being unable to produce a surplus to sell means, their means of sustaining a future is being challenged by the circumstances. For many of the children, they won’t make it to higher education.
“We can’t make money and our children blame us for not giving them the chance to go to school like other children,” said Emilia Ababa, a mother living at the Asarumba Care Centre.
In the care centres, there are more problems. Most of the youth have turned to trading homebrew and marijuana for money.
“We have to help our parents so we did what we can and that’s brewing and selling marijuana and steam,” Mathias Baru of the Asarumba Care Centre stated.
All this has caused more young people at the Care Centres to remain home with nothing to do.
“They all remain home whether here or on the island, get into the habit of consuming homebrew and marijuana and cause problems, a headache we the elders have to deal with,” said Moses Sam, a Senior teacher at the Asarumba Care Centre.