Home' Aurora : Aurora April 2014 Contents 7
www.mn.catholic.org.au Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
PENOLA HOUSE'S HELPING
HAND EXTENDS TO LIBERIA
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-- How much super will I need for a comfortable retirement?
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-- If I become single, how will I independently suppor t myself?
-- Will I leave a financial burden on my children or loved ones?
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account balance at
age 60--64 years1
1. Source: Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey 2013
Years on retirement
The Facts: Women have to live longer on less
Women are facing a less than super
"People just keep coming with more and
more stuff," Dominican Sister Diana
Sitting in the cosy office of Penola House
in Mayfield, the secr etary of the Penola
House Refugee Suppor t ser vice points to
a stack of plastic bags piled high.
"That's why we can send goods to
other s -- because the generous people of
Newcastle come here every day and give
us these things."
The scale of donations has created a
surplus , allowing Penola House to extend
its helping hand over sea s to children in
Liberia, West Africa.
"James Kolor is a r elation of one of our
refugee families. He appealed for our help.
It's his vision to improve the educational
oppor tunities, especially for girls and
children with a disability, in the villages,"
Josephite Sister Betty Brown, co-ordinator
of Penola House, says.
"Liberia", she explains, "is just beginning to
rebuild after 14 year s of civil war that left
the countr y in pover ty with thousands of
children orphaned and teachers who never
had the chance to work.
"Their whole education system was
destroyed. Anybody who's a teacher hasn't
been paid in year s. What James did was to
find people in Liberia who were teacher s
and retrain them. He needed many
teachers to teach the countless children
who could barely read or write. This
training happens under the auspices of the
Christian Foundation Liberia (CFL), where
James is pastor. The r eskilled teacher s
then disperse into Liberia's villages to tutor
children in the basics of reading, writing and
In suppor t of CFL, Sister s Betty and Diana
sent books, chair s, tables and uniforms.
They also sent a container of clothes,
blankets, toiletries and kitchen accessories
to Rivercess County, where James
ha s established an education progr am
specifically for rur al girls.
"He's been very gr ateful and named the
progr am 'Sister s Betty and Diana Rur al
Girls Education Program' (SBD-RGEP) or
BetDiana ," Sr Diana beams .
The progr am selects ten girls. Over a
six-month period, they will learn home
management, gardening, counselling,
abstinence and awareness of HIV/AIDS.
"At the end of it they'll be able to read,
write and use a sewing machine," Sr
"Education sets you free," Sr Betty adds.
"If you're a girl, you're lucky if you get a
Lack of money and infrastr ucture, a cultur al
preference for boys, child mar riage and
teenage pregnancy mean girls often cannot
receive a full education.
James' effor ts and the suppor t of Penola
House to improve liter acy and reduce
unemployment have caught the eye of the
Minister for Education in Monrovia, the
capital of Liberia.
"James' work has been approved. He
hopes to get some financial help from
the gover nment of Liberia because they
recognise the value of what he's doing," Sr
"Betty and I love doing what we do. It is
good to help other s less for tunate than
our selves. I think sometimes we all focus
too much on our selves. It's when we
get involved with the hard stuff that life
Visit www.penolahouse.org.au for
more pictures and stories.
CFL staff and participants with a banner proclaiming their mission of education.
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