Ambassador: John Taka , Papua New Guinea
John founded Seeds of Hope PNG in 2011 to encourage children in his local community to pursue higher education as a way to minimise tribal conflict and avoid future violence. Based in Waknam Village, Mul District in the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Seeds of Hope PNG has impacted the lives of all 2,000 inhabitants through its various programmes.
Seeds of Hope PNG runs a small agricultural operation that helps raise funds towards scholarships to subsidise school fees for children in the local community. Committee members in the village plant and grow produce such as potatoes, cabbage and broccoli, and then sell it to raise funds that support these children through education. Currently 19 school children and seven higher education students have benefitted from this project, and eight of the beneficiaries have already graduated and are in the workforce. As well as providing these scholarships, John also had his former employer, PwC, donate four second-hand laptops to help these children access better educational resources. Seeds of Hope PNG also supports young entrepreneurs to start businesses, helping five people to begin working including a mother of three who has started a business as a seamstress.
Seeds of Hope PNG also works to improve financial literacy and inclusion in the community. In Papua New Guinea, 85% of the low-income population live in rural areas and do not have access to formal financial services1 . Thus, Seeds of Hope PNG invites the local bank to come to the towns and villages to inform people about the benefits of saving and to help them open bank accounts. John plans to encourage a saving culture in Waknam, and has helped 80 people open bank accounts so far. This increases their ability to save, making families more resistant to shocks in their income streams from unforeseen crises such as weather related emergencies. Seeds of Hope PNG has built two roads to make it easier for children and pregnant mothers to commute, and is also planning to initiate a new house building programme in the coming year, to further improve stability in the region.