Sunday September 1, 2013 was a very special day for the community in the village of Wildlife, Port Moresby. It was the formal opening of the three classrooms, Rob and Jan Patterson Literacy School built by Operation Food for Life to provide free education for the poor, forgotten and disadvantaged children, whom for many, live in very primitive homes in the area.
From the schools humble beginning with 35 children attending, enrolments quickly grew to 146. Without basic education many of these children would face an uncertain future. Breaking the cycle of knowledge poverty is a life changing gift a person can give to another.
The village had never witnessed such happy and memorable celebrations in the lead up to the opening ceremony. Commencing with a Ladies Marching team walking on the main street, followed by dignitaries and V.I.P’s heading to the school.
These included, Mrs Tracey Shenton, daughter of Rob and Jan Patterson, Ms Deborah Stokes, Australian High Commissioner in PNG, Ms Loujaya Kouza, Minister for Religion, Youth and Community Development in the PNG Government and Pastor Tony Kemo President of the Central Papua Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church Port Moresby, plus other overseas and local guests.
Children from the school, (some dressed as traditional tribal warriors) formed a guard of honour approaching the school and presented dignitaries and guests with traditional handmade gifts.
Following the seating of guests, the formalities commenced. This included precision marching by the Ladies Marching Team, uplifting singing by the Dorcas Federation Choir and much more.
All speeches followed the same theme. Praising the founding teacher Ogasta Daniel, whom without her inspiration and the support of her husband Daniel, the school would never have been built.
Praise was given to Operation Food for Life and all of our local volunteers and donors, who made this school possible.
David Woolley co-founder of OFFL presented a history of the school from its humble beginnings to its completion. Dennis Perry President of OFFL expressed appreciation to a number of our partners for their support. This included Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company, Pacific Adventist University, Paradise Foods, Hardware Haus and the donors who faithfully financially support Operation Food for Life.
Following her speech Tracey Shenton was invited by the Director of Operation Food for Life in PNG, Phillip Vaki, to formally open the school.
Through the Legacy of Rob and Jan Patterson and their family together with a specific donation from Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing Company the school will continue to give hope for generations.
It is to the Patterson family and Gods glory we dedicate this article.
For more information on the Rob and Jan Patterson Literacy School please visit the Project and Latest News Tabs on this web site. Slideshow follows: