“Learn-Work” Project

The Blessed Rosalie Rendu Community of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, composed of three Sisters arrived in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in January 2019, upon the request of Bishop Rolando C. Santos, CM, DD to collaborate with the Diocese in its mission of evangelization through the education ministry (Catholic Agency Schools) particularly Sacred Heart Secondary School, Hagita and St. Paul Pastoral Center.

Feeding Program for Children

Two years of serving in both institutions, the Sisters have also established rapport with families living in poor conditions in surrounding villages.  The DC Community experienced the generosity of these families for they used to bring garden products in exchange for rice and fish. On Community feasts, the Sisters offered supplemental feeding for children.

However, it has been observed that during rainy seasons, family members cannot till the land and in order to have something on the table, they have recourse to asking for food especially rice. This has become a pattern which was exacerbated during COVID 19 lockdown.

Home visitation

As an alternative to the dole-out system of helping those in need, the Community decided to use a more sustainable method: LEARN-WORK. Weekly food supply is provided as incentive for people, especially mothers, to come together to study, learn some skills and do some common work.  The approach for this development is integral evangelization. The Project started with 25 families living in poverty, having five children and who are subsistent farmers. Activities include spiritual formation, human formation, education in the faith, and service (training for responsible parenthood, care for our common home, campaign against domestic violence and child protection policy).

Mothers doing Common Work

2022, its third year of implementation and reaping the visible fruits of the Project, the Community of Sisters are grateful to God for this golden opportunity of serving Him in our sisters and brothers in PNG. Gratitude also goes to foreign agencies like the International Project Services (IPS) of the Daughters of Charity and BVM Hunger Fund Project of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The beneficiaries say that the Learn-Work has helped their families in many ways for they have learned more about the Catholic faith and the meaning of what they believe in and so are encouraged to witness to this faith. One mother is now offering fruits like ripe papaya, banana or young coconut to the Sisters whenever she goes to sell fruits in the market in gratitude for the many blessings received by her family. Vangie, a beneficiary, expressed thanksgiving through these words: “Thank you for this Learn-Work where we continue to grow in the spiritual, economic, social aspects of our lives; we received material goods, prayed together, and related well with others in the few hours of services we rendered. I became more grateful to God for His blessings in life. God bless us all.”

Sr. Roberta SIMBAJON, DC

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