PNG Balsa was a well known company in the East New Britain Province, where it had operated for more than twenty years. The company was a world class producer of balsa wood and the main avenue for balsa exports into Europe.
The play schools of 3A Composites PNG Limited will continue to bear the name of Ms Lisbeth Moneton, the woman who was instrumental in establishing them for the children of the company’s workers.
Mothers of the compound had named their school “Moneton Play School” in honour of her vision, kindness and generosity.
Lisbeth Moneton after taking over the compound management job from a previous manager in the beginning of 2014, felt the need for the company to take care of the early education of the children who live with their parents in the company’s compounds. She proposed the idea to her husband who was the CEO of PNG Balsa, Mr Pierre Moneton, who agreed to the project and from there the concept grew into becoming a firm basis of the company’s strategic policies.
The top executive from 3A Composites in Switzerland, Mr Roman Thomassin, (CEO 3AC Core Materials) who is in East New Britain this month to complete the acquisition of PNG Balsa and integrate it into 3A Composites Core Materials, has stated that the company is very much behind continuing the effort to provide children of its employees, the best education possible, starting right from the very bottom with early childhood education.
From a European industrial attitude and practice, the executives at 3A Composites PNG Limited, have said that in terms of company visions and strategies, this is a natural and correct way to look at corporate investment and development: “By contributing to children’s education with the vision that one day some of these very children would stand to become leading executives in the company of the future”.
As they watched the little children sitting under a make shift sun shade before getting up to dance or sing while participating in the proceedings of opening the play school, company managers in a quiet discussion among themselves, mentioned that maybe a future chief executive officer of 3A Composites PNG Limited in 30 years time was already sitting over there among the little girls and boys on the blue canvas mat.
3A Composites PNG Limited is the first privately owned company in the country to establish and fund its own schools, not only with the specific aim of bringing about a good education for the children of its workers, but also with the aim of creating a successful and sustainable future for itself and its potential future workforce.
The company is carrying out a bottom up building of its future by marrying its business goals with the personal goals of the local people in the country of its business operations. It is starting this process by taking ownership in the young people’s early education with the aim of providing them with a bright start in their lives.
Lisbeth Moneton in an emotional going away speech told the story of how she started the play schools.
“When I took over the compound management job, I was amazed by all the wonderful children running around all day and playing. But I thought that if they could spend their time in a more meaningful, valuable manner by learning something while playing, they could get a better start in their lives.
“So I talked with some of the mothers if they could be interested in starting up a school in each compound. My Idea was more to have like a kindergarten kind of arrangement where children could spend some hours every day playing, singing and learning”.
Lisbeth had made a collection of used toys and books from a play school in Zurich, where she and her husband the CEO of the former PNG Balsa had lived with their children before coming to PNG.
“We received 60 cartons of books and toys. Most of the toys were used to create a Play Room at the children’s ward in the St Mary’s, Vunapope Hospital which opened in June 2013. Some of the books and toys were donated to the Callan School for disabled persons. Other items were donated to Ramale Destiny School, which we have been supporting since 2012. The rest have been used in Play School 1 and now Play School 2 will receive toys as well”.
When she started the play school, she was just trying to establish a normal kindergarten like the ones they have in Europe:
“But I have been quite amazed and rewarded by the many instances where lives have changed and people have transformed themselves around this new sense of focus. I suddenly found myself working in a humane environment where it has been wonderful to see so many little children becoming literate, learning their alphabet and learning to speak English at a very early age.
“The wonder of early childhood learning was a surprising new door that was opened up before me. But what for me has been the most valuable human experience in my whole life, has been to witness the happiness I see in the children, to discover their curiosity, their hunger and appetite for learning.
“I did not expect to see such a great transformation and the life changing experiences that is going on in our workers compounds. But I have seen ordinary mothers become passionate about early childhood learning, discovering their ability to speak in front of other people, realize their own leadership qualities and become proud teachers.”