June 14, 2020

Accessing Education during the Pandemic: Peter's Story

A story from Mercy Works

For students from poor families in the remote regions of Papua New Guinea, accessing education is never easy. Add in a global pandemic and it becomes that much harder. 

One such student is Peter from East New Britain. Without an Access to Education Scholarship awarded by Mercy Works, he would not have been able to overcome that barrier to education.  As a result, he has been able to continue studying at teachers’ college and is hoping to graduate in 2021. 

Lecturers at Divine Word University had identified him as a student with great potential, yet being from an impoverished background and a consequent lack of financial means was jeopardising his ability to finish his education.

Losing both parents at a young age left Peter as the sole carer for his 9-year-old sister plus his cousins. The weight of this responsibility would be immense for any student.  Studying while providing enough food to feed himself and the young ones in his care, meant he was forced to resort to any means he could, including living on the streets. 

When Peter was almost at the point of losing hope to realise his dream of becoming a teacher, his story reached a Mercy Works staff member.  This led him to receive a scholarship that would offer him sufficient financial and pastoral assistance to complete his studies.

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic has seen drastic changes in the delivery of Peter’s classes. His studies have continued through a mix of online and limited face-to-face learning  conducted in accordance with social distancing restrictions.  This has required a significant adjustment to keep up with his classwork, but he is managing to stay on top of his studies. 

In these challenging times, Peter is particularly grateful that he no longer has the added financial pressures he was under previously.  But more than that, he finds both strength and comfort in the certainty of the support granted by his Mercy Works scholarship.   

Messages to: Peter c/- Lauren Stariha - Communications Officer Mercy Works

Peter discusses his studies and plans for the future in this short video clip

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