​New learning centre for Gabagaba

Gabagaba villagers in Central Province came together yesterday to celebrate education through the opening of their Community Learning Centre under the CLC Kapa Structure, initiated by Digicel Foundation.

CLC Kapa Structure for Gabagaba is expected to improve the village’s efforts and capacity in early childhood learning.

Yet, it is sad to say that many of these young enthusiastic learners, who strive every day to learn the alphabet, only enter into a formal education system where not all of them will have the opportunity to go further.

Gabagaba United Church chairman, Miria Ume, put that into perspective saying that early childhood learning is the first step at trying to bridge that widening gap.

“Gabagaba CLC Elementary School is fortunate to be in partnership with Digicel Foundation through the CLC Kapa Structure program,” chairman Ume said.

The occasion was extra special with Digicel Foundation Global Chair, Maria Mulcahy, present to cut the ribbon on the new CKC Kapa Project infrastructure; and this she did with teacher-in-charge of Gabagaba CLC Elementary, Bau Sabadi.

This achievement is the first out of 6 stages under this 3-year CLC Kapa Project.

“Opening this new infrastructure says so much for early childhood education in Gabagaba. It is an opportunity for the young students and for me as well, as the founder, and a ray of hope to achieve more through this partnership with Digicel Foundation,” Mr Sabadi said.

The school was started in 2014 with 6 children only - after Mr Sabadi attended the Isi Learning training funded by Digicel Foundation.

Today, there are 75 students and Mr Sabadi hopes to increase that number by meeting more of the CLC Kapa Project requirements to get new infrastructure.

Despite the continuous financial struggle to support the school’s daily operations, Mr Sabadi is proud of his young students.

“As soon as they enter the school grounds and classroom, English is the only language they speak – because they are so used to speaking the local vernacular and Tok Pisin. Their parents come complaining to me that their children want to speak English only at home too, and so they have to speak it as well.”

He said this transfer of knowledge and skills is a sure sign that early childhood learning is benefiting the community at large as well.

(Left to right: Beatrice Mahuru, CEO Digicel Foundation, Maria Mulcahy, Global Chair of Digicel Foundations, Bau Sabadi, head teacher & founder of Gabagaba CLC, and Janos Katter, board member Digicel Foundation, all celebrate the ribbon cutting to officially open the Kapa Classroom [multi-purpose open air classroom] for Gabagaba Community Learning Centre)

Salome Vincent