Everyday People PNG: Noelyn Wati

After the loss of her husband in 2015, 40-year-old Noelyn Wati saw comfort in teaching. This wonderful tool helped her and her children to cope through their loss and give back to her community in the Kokoda Track region of Central Province.

The loss of his father, Noelyn’s eldest son lost hope in his studies, and no matter how much she tried to encourage him to pursue education, she felt it better to do the walk, than talk.

Through the Seventh Day Adventist community-based program, Noelyn took up short courses and in 2018 volunteered to teach at the Bisiatabu Primary School in Sogeri.

Noelyn said the short courses she did, helped her understand basics of teaching elementary students and it was a joy to see them learn and grow, giving her the confidence to build and grow in this profession.

Her tenacity to improve and grow in this profession led to receiving a scholarship through the Kokoda Initiative in accessing the Flexible, Open and Distance Education (FODE) to achieve her high school qualifications.                              

Forty teachers and health workers through the Kokoda initiative were given support by Australia in the Kokoda Track region to undertake alternative education pathways like FODE.

While awaiting the PNG 1-6-6 schooling structure to begin, teachers will need to qualify for formal education, allowing Noelyn no time to waste in becoming a certified teacher like her siblings.

Noelyn is nearing the completion of her studies in FODE here in Port Moresby, and by 2022, she hopes to be amongst the 17 to graduate and eventually achieve an official position as a teacher listed in the National Education System.

More than 200 teachers at 19 primary schools and 41 elementary schools across the Kokoda Track region receive Australia’s support through the Kokoda initiative.

Carol Kidu