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By Jim John

Women from the Tmindemesuk village in Kiunga rural local level government of North Fly District, Western Province used their own Community Learning Centre (CLC) to host first life skills program for women to learn basic sewing skills.

After seven years, the women in this village under the leadership of Mrs Denis Albert Handy, finally opened their semi-permanent Community Learning Centre.

She was the first president elected in 2015 for Tmindemesuk Women’s Social Issues Concern Group (WSICG).

Within the five years (2015-2020) before Mrs Handy’s term ended in 2020, she registered the women’s group and opened two bank accounts for the village women to use.

She said 76 women showed up with K20 each as contributions to build a CLC that year.

Mrs Handy said the women were selling garden produce to raise money to buy their building materials.

She further added that, the women received support from 20 local firms and organizations. The Tutuwe Ara Women and Children’s Association, which is one of the eight Trust regions of the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) in Western Province supplied paint and panel rib sheets recently to complete the walling and add finishing touches.

“We ran our first training in September 2022 with 19 participants registering. We supplied materials and sewing machines. Our members sold meri blouses and men’s shirts at K50 and K20 each. I am grateful to one special participant among the trainees.” she said.

One special participant among the trainees was resident Ms Doris Roy who was able to own a machine provided by the Tutuwe association and support from their Tmindemesuk community women.

“I can sew and earn money for my children and myself. I can now sew meri blouses for myself, my daughter and also sew to sell at the village market. Unlike baking or other skills training, sewing training is suitable for people like me, I am a peron with disability.” said Ms Roy.

Ms Roy admitted she had been praying for sewing training for two years and now she has attended this training right at her doorstep.

Mrs Handy praised Ms Doris Roy, a resident with a disability, for completing the training at the village.

The Vice president of Tutuwe Ara Women and Children’s Association Serah Maroke explained that their association exists to support its 29 villages in the Tutuwe Trust region in the North Fly District of Western Province.

She said more support would be given should members pay their K200 registration affiliation fee to the association. This also includes WSICG’s commitment to taking ownership of the programs which they as executives bring into each of the 29 villages.

“We have hosted life skills training of trainers (ToT) in baking, sewing and music for interested participants in each of the 29 villages of Upper, Central and Lower Tutuwe region. Nevertheless, the women should continue to share their knowledge gained from the trainings to the women in their respective villages.” she said.

The Vice president added: “We will definitely come in and support the self-initiated programs. The women of Tmindemesuk village were humbled to receive life skills in sewing meri blouses using the patterns they learnt to cut.”

The participants were trained by Tutuwe Ara Association members and executives who had previously underwent sewing training facilitated by the Kiunga Technical Vocational Training Centre (KTVTC) last year.

This program is a social arrangement between Ok Tedi Mining Limited and the mine impact communities and coordinated by Ok Tedi Development Foundation based in Kiunga.


Caption: The members and development partners standing in-front of the learning center at Tmindemesuk village.

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