Papua New Guinea Asks Church’s Help in Educational Project

Plan Promotes Education of Young Women

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VANIMO, Papua New Guinea, NOV. 23, 2003 ( The Catholic diocese of Vanimo accepted the invitation to head a new educational plan for young women in Papua New Guinea.

The regional government of Vanimo requested the Catholic diocese to take charge of a new senior technical boarding high-school for girls. This school, the first of its kind in the area, will prepare young women for the university level. Traditionally, girls learn only domestic work and have little opportunity to study.

According to the school project, teaching and administration staff will be paid by the State, but the government has asked the local Church to contribute towards the construction of the building. Bishop Bonivento accepted willingly “with total confidence in Divine Providence.”

The compound, which will accommodate 320 girls, will have 6 two-story buildings housing classrooms, laboratories, dormitories, kitchens, a refectory, and recreational facilities. The project includes about 15 homes for teachers. The total estimated cost is about 2 million dollars.

School children in Vanimo have to travel as far as 150 miles to reach the nearest school. To relieve the situation, the government recently raised 8 Church-run elementary schools in the diocese to the rank of middle school. To meet the new needs the schools will have to build new classrooms and separate dormitories for boys and for girls, as well as kitchens and refectories, an expense of about 1 million dollars.

The diocese of Vanimo and Bishop Bonivento will receive help in the collection of the needed 3 million dollars by the “Progetto Pace” Association, a Catholic organization founded in Modena, Italy. The association has already supported the building of a family-house project in Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, by collecting funds and long-distance adoptions.

Devis Dazzani, a leading member of the association, told the Vatican agency “Fides” that with “the grace of God and the generosity of many men and women of good will, we hope to be able to help poor girls and women in Papua New Guinea.”

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