PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea — A local mother recently thanked Barrick Niugini for helping her daughter realize her dream to become a nurse.
Janet Aluako’s daughter, Sevi Robert, recently graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing from Pacific Adventist University in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, which is home to the Porgera mine. Barrick Niugini, which operates the mine, sponsored Robert’s studies.
"We greatly appreciate your kind assistance towards Sevi Robert’s education," Aluako said in an email to Rachael Lepokon and Bessie Agibe, who work in the mine’s Investing in People and Systems – Employee Development Section, which manages the Porgera Joint Venture Sponsorship Program.
Established in 1990 when the mine began operating, the Porgera Joint Venture Sponsorship Program provides financial assistance, including support for tuition and accommodations, to post-secondary students in the Porgera Valley and Enga province. Students accepted into the program must reapply every year and support is contingent on academic performance. The program has supported more than 1,000 students since its inception. Many have gone on to become employees at Porgera, some in supervisory roles, while others have found work in government, health care and the local private sector.
In her email, Aluako thanked the team at Porgera on behalf of her daughter and other families from her home village of Kulapi who have benefited from the sponsorship program. "One of the fruits of your tireless effort is that Sevi has graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing from PAU," she said. "You might be proud of it as it is your hard work that helped shape her future.
"Your efforts have not been wasted, and you have invested in something that will harvest and be recognized in the future. We all thank the Porgera Joint Venture for its faithfulness in its sponsorship scheme."
Meanwhile, Timothy Andambo, Corporate Social Responsibility Operations Manager at the Porgera mine, and a local Porgeran, also expressed his appreciation for the sponsorship program. "On behalf of the Porgera proud achievers, the parents, the relatives and the community of Porgera... thank you Barrick Niugini for doing the right thing... and thank you to the dedicated team who look after the sponsorship section," he said. "Without your efforts, our future generation would not achieve their dreams."
Kaspar Solo Puli is on his way to becoming a registered dental surgeon.
Earlier this month, Puli started a two-year residency in dental health as a trainee dentist at the Kimbe General Hospital in West New Britain province. His residency comes after Puli earned a bachelor’s degree in dental surgery last year. His studies were sponsored by the Porgera mine.
Puli, 23, recently thanked the Porgera team for their support. "I, Solo Kaspar Puli, would like to take this time to say thank you to the Porgera Joint Venture and its Learning and Development Department for sponsoring me at the university level for the last five consecutive years," he wrote in an email sent December 27 to Rachael Lepokon, an advisor in the mine’s Investing in People and Systems – Employee Development Section (IPS – ED), which oversees the mine’s sponsorship program. "I wouldn’t have gotten this far but through your sponsorship."
The day after sending his email, Puli visited the IPS – ED office to personally thank team members. IPS-ED Manager Peter White congratulated Puli on the successful completion of his studies and. thanked him for taking the time to visit.
Puli, who plans to pursue his Masters in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Papua New Guinea upon completing his residency, said he is a testament to what is a possible thanks to the mine's sponsorship program. "When we have this kind of opportunity, we must do our best," he said. "We must not misrepresent our sponsor. To give back to the Porgera Joint Venture, we must perform our best in our studies".
Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL) is a company incorporated in Papua New Guinea, and operates the Porgera Gold Mine in Enga Province on behalf of the Porgera Joint Venture partners. BNL is an independently managed company and is jointly owned through an equal partnership between Barrick and Zijin Mining Group. The Porgera Gold Mine employs more than 2,500 Papua New Guineans, and over the life of the mine it has contributed approximately 10% of Papua New Guinea’s total annual exports.