Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea). On 8 December 2022, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Mary Help of Christians Professional Training Center (MHCVETFC) of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of East Boroko, Port Moresby, in St. Mary D. Mazzarello Province (FIL), held the first graduation ceremony for 22 students.

The School is one of the newest FODE (Flexible, Open & Distance Learning) registered Vocational Training Centers in Port Moresby, and has received funding for the four-year project from the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), obtained through the non-profit organization Don Bosco World. The project is: “Social and economic empowerment of disadvantaged young women and contribution to gender equality”.

The aphorism “God writes straight with crooked lines” well describes the path of the Center in its first year of activity. Despite the ten-week delay in opening the academic year and the numerous challenges and difficulties faced, the 22 female and male students have however managed to obtain the National Certificate 1 in Commercial Cooking (12 students) and Office Administration (10 students), reviewed by the Academic Advisory Board with members drawn from the Department of Education – TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) and from other institutions.

In their opening discourses, both Ms. Nigl Zerike, Assistant Secretariat for the TVET Curriculum and E-Learning at the Department of Education,  representing Ms. Annemarie Kona, Deputy Secretary for the Directorate of Policy and of Corporate Services;  both Mr. Aisop Mo, District Administrator of Moresby South,  representing the Hon. Justin Tkatchenko, MP for Moresby South,  underlined that the School responds to the immense need for educational institutions in the country and in the National Capital District that cater to those who have less possibilities, because they have not passed the national exams and therefore are not selected by any School. Furthermore, they underlined that the School does not limit itself to providing skills, but shapes hearts through the education to values.

The MHCVETFC is a School that offers ‘a second chance’, as the students themselves testified, in particular during the visit of the consultant of the Don Bosco World Project, Steffen Marziniak, from 15 to 20 November 2022. In this meeting, the young spontaneously shared their personal stories about how being accepted by the Center has given them hope for the future, to no longer feel marginalized just because they are women in a society that still has a lot to grow in consideration and respect in the treatment of women.

In her acceptance speech, Mrs. Heautani Babona, Director and recipient of the award for the management of the School, highlighted how, thanks to the state-of-the-art training facilities, it is possible to ensure adequate preparation for them. She also thanked the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the teachers for their competent guidance and for nurturing trust in the students.

The presence of government officials, the Department of Education, the TVET sector, members of the Board of Directors, industry and business partners, sponsors, and benefactors, testifies to the network synergy that the Institution has created in an effort to involve more partners in the field of education.