Everyday People: Zechariah Ofotigi

I completed grade 8 in 2011 and continued onto secondary school (grade 9-12) at Popondetta Secondary School and in 2015, I completed grade 12.

While in grade 12, I applied to Maritime College in Madang and PAU to do Bachelor of Nursing, but I didn’t pursue this because I couldn’t afford the school fees.

One of my brothers told me about City Mission in Moresby, where they could give me a second chance in life… I didn’t want to miss the opportunity, I headed down to the head office at Koki, I was interviewed and brought to the mission office.

I was put in the Agriculture Department and they taught us how to do plant nurseries and how to grow plants. I was there for three months and then moved to the livestock department. I learnt how to take care of pigs and other animals.

After the short course in livestock, I was supposed to take trade training in the workshop but I did not get that I was moved to be an assistant caseworker inside the office.

I came in 2017 and was hired as a staff in 2018. When Flexible Learning, FODE studies were brought to City Mission I was told to be in charge, because there was no one to run that. I was given the job to take care of Grades 7-12, assisting those students who completed their grades but didn’t get any offer. I helped them to upgrade their marks through City Mission FODE and they resit their exams in NCD.

While doing that I was also doing administration work as an office assistant.  I also run the Occupational Health and Safety Class for the Vocational Trade Class. It’s almost four years I have been with City Mission and I’m very happy.

When I first came to City Mission, I had no idea about field work but now after four years, I feel like I am multi-skilled because of the different fields of life I had to go through. For example, while I am at the office and there is a need for a Literacy teacher, I go there to assist the boys with literacy. There’s a school for children too and when they have a need for a teacher, I go and help with teaching, when there’s no one to mind the coffee shop I step in to help.

I thank City Mission because when I finished grade 12 and didn’t further my studies, I felt hopeless, but when I arrived at City Mission, I learnt many new skills and the door of was opportunities opened.

I know that when I leave City Mission and go out I will be somebody in life. I have started a new construction company that was launched in Oro recently. I have employed some locals to run it, but I am going down there soon to run it.

I have a vision to start a City Mission programme in Oro, in 2030 on a land that I will purchase, so I can extend its good work.

Frieda Kana