The community and development partners stand in front of the learning center

Women from a village in North Fly Western Province use their own community learning center (CLC) to host the first life skills program for women to learn basic sewing skills.

Seven years on, the Tmindemesuk women under Mrs Denis Albert Handy’s leadership, finally opened their semi-permanent Community Learning Center.

Mrs.  Handy was the first president elected in 2015 for the Tmindemesuk Women’s Social Issues Concern Group (WSICG). Within five years, she registered the Tmindemesuk group and opened two bank accounts for the village women to use.

She said 76 women showed up with K20 each as contributions to build a community learning centre (CLC) that year.

Mrs Handy said the women were selling garden produce to raise money to buy their building materials.

She said the women received support from 20 local firms and organisations. The Tutuwe Ara Women & Children’s Association supplied paint and panel ribs sheets recently to complete the walling and finishing touches.

She said: “We ran our first training in September 2022 with 19 participants registering. We supplied materials and sewing machines. Our members sold meri blouses and men’s shirts at K50 and K20 each. I am grateful to one special participant among the trainees.”

As resident Ms. Doris Roy explains: “Thanks to Mrs.  Handy, I was able to own a machine provided by the Tutuwe association and the support from our Tmindemesuk community women. I can sew and earn money for my children and myself”.

Ms Roy admitted she had been praying for sewing training for two years and now she has attended this training right at her doorstep. She explained: “Unlike baking or other skills training, sewing training is suitable for people like me living with a disability.”

Mrs Handy praised Ms. Doris Roy, a resident living with a disability, for completing the training. She said: “She can now sew meri blouses for herself and her daughter and also sew to sell at the village market”.

Association Vice President Serah Meroke explained  that the Tutuwe Ara Women & Children’s Association exists to support its 29 villages. She said more support will be given should members pay their K200 registration affiliation fee to the association. This also includes WSICG’s commitment to taking ownership of the programs which they as executives bring into each of the 29 villages.

She said: “We have hosted life skills training of trainers (ToT) in baking, sewing and music for interested participants in each of the 29 villagers of upper, central and lower Tutuwe region. Nevertheless, the women should continue to share the knowledge they gained to the women in their respective villages.”

She added: “We will definitely come in and support the self-initiated programs. The women of Tmindemesuk Village were humbled to receive life skills in sewing meri blouses using the patterns they learnt to cut. The participants were trained by Tutuwe Ara association members and executives who had previously underwent sewing training facilitated by the Kiunga Technical Vocational Education Training Center (KTVETC) last year.

The association is from the Tutuwe Trust Region, one of eight Trust regions of the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA), a social arrangement between Ok Tedi Mining Limited and the mine impact communities.

OTDF Media