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Sharks bring the gift of light to PNG students

A delegation from the Sharks joined players and officials from the Canterbury Bulldogs in delivering 2,500 solar lights to students at Hagara Primary School in Hanuabada, Papua New Guinea today.

Josh Dugan, Sione Katoa, Jackson Ferris and Lorenzo Mulitalo were a part of the group who attended the Hagara School, with the visit undertaken due to the strong partnership between Australian NGO KTF (Kokoda Track Foundation), the Motu Koita Assembly and the Sharks.

Despite its proximity to the nation’s capital, many households in the village of Hanuabada, traditional home to the original landowners of Port Moresby, do not have access to the electricity grid due to the high cost of connection and prohibitive cost of supplies.

This lack of access to safe and reliable electricity has many impacts for households, including curbing children’s opportunity to study after sundown. This has far-reaching effects on their education and the development of the skills necessary to break the cycle of poverty.

The Cronulla Sharks are proud Ambassadors of KTF, previously delivering SolarBuddy lights to children when they crossed the Kokoda Track in 2017.

On invitation by Motu Koita Assembly Chairman, Dadi Toka, the Sharks jumped at the opportunity to visit today, inviting their opponents for Saturday’s pre-season NRL match, the Canterbury Bulldogs, to join them in delivering lights to children at Hagara Primary School.

“We are extremely proud to once again partner up with KTF on the ground in PNG.”  said George Nour, General Manager – Sharks Have Heart. “Being able to first-hand deliver SolarBuddy lights to children to enhance their ability to complete their homework and other tasks within their community is something we are extremely privileged to be part of.

“We also want to thank the Bulldogs for joining us in making a difference in PNG in the lead up to our trial match.”

KTF’s partnership with Australian organisation SolarBuddy provides individual solar lights to children living in energy poverty across PNG. With a SolarBuddy light, initial findings show that children in PNG are studying 78 percent longer and reliance on kerosene and other dangerous fuels has been reduced by 80 percent.

Spearheaded by Chairman Toka, KTF and the Motu Koita Assembly are currently undertaking several projects in Hanuabada, including an innovative new eyesight testing program and the establishment of the Motu Koita FODE (Flexible Open Distance Education) centre providing second-chance education pathways for students to Grade 12.

“Working with NGO partners is a key aim of mine and the Motu Koita Assembly. We are delighted to be kicking off an exciting, multifaceted partnership with our new NGO partner, KTF, and their charity partners in Australia, SolarBuddy, which has enabled more than 2,000 lights to be distributed to children from Hagara Primary School today. Light is critical for safety and security and for education and health outcomes for our young people.”

KTF CEO, Dr Genevieve Nelson, embraced the opportunity to bring together a diverse group of partners:

“We could not pass up such an exciting opportunity to bring together so many of our partners here at Hanuabada in support of the community. Our heartfelt thanks go to the Motu Koita Assembly and Chairman Toka for welcoming us to work side by side on so many initiatives, our Ambassadors the Sharks for making time in their pre-game training schedule and our friends at SolarBuddy for providing the lights to deliver to the children of Hagara Primary,” Ms Nelson said

In addition to the school visit, the Sharks were also scheduled to take part in a signing session and attend a High Commission reception today, with a junior planned for tomorrow ahead of their Captain’s run training session.

The trial match against the Bulldogs is set down for a 5.30pm kick off (local time) on Saturday.  


About KTF:

KTF (Kokoda Track Foundation) is an Australian international aid NGO working in Papua New Guinea. Because of our shared history, the legacy of World War II and the support Australia received during the Kokoda campaign, KTF supports communities in PNG to overcome some of the challenges they face today.

KTF runs programs in the vital areas of education, health, and livelihoods across 16 of PNG’s 22 Provinces. These programs aim to train high quality teachers and community health workers, provide these professionals with mentoring and professional development opportunities, build educational and health infrastructure, fund the ongoing maintenance and resourcing of schools and aid posts, and provide remuneration to teachers and health workers across rural regions. Our livelihoods program aims to generate sustainable income-generating opportunities for women in remote areas via investment in state-of-the-art solar technology, agriculture and women’s sanitary and health products.

KTF has also delivered a national leadership program, now in its tenth year, with final year tertiary students from across PNG, finding and fostering the next generation of leaders.

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