A chance meeting in Melbourne means that a school that serves 300 children in a remote part of Papua New Guinea will now be able to attract teachers with a new accommodation unit supplied by ICS Industries.
The Holy Cross Homaria Primary School is located in the Southern Highlands Province near the centre of Papua New Guinea. Over 50% of the nearby population of 12,000 are children of school age, many of whom would have no access to formal education were it not for the school
Facilities at the school were modest comprising classrooms and teachers’ quarters built using bush materials by the local community volunteers. ICS Industries’ involvement with the school came about after a chance meeting with the head of the local diocese, Father Peter Hinawai. “My wife Fiona met Father Hinawai while he was studying for his Masters in Theology in late 2011,” explained Michael Lennox, Managing Director of ICS Industries at the time. “Father Hinawai explained to Fiona how the diocese, like many villages in Papua New Guinea, was having trouble attracting quality educators to the school because of the lack of quality resources and teacher accommodation."
ICS Industries' involvement started soon after when Fiona arrived home one night and announced: “Guess what we’re going to do!” After hearing of the plight of the school from his wife and subsequently meeting Father Hinawai, Michael decided to travel to the region in December 2012 to see firsthand school-presentation whether ICS Industries could assist the school.
“What really struck me on that visit, apart from the lack of resources and poor living and working conditions, was the enthusiasm for education from the children and their families,” said Michael.
“I knew right away that I wanted to help this community and it was obvious that ICS Industries had the means to make a very real difference to the quality of education that the children could receive.” Founded in 1999 to provide communication shelters to Telstra, Optus and Vodaphone, ICS Industries designs and manufactures transportable communications buildings, modular buildings, switch rooms, sheet metal cabinets plus a range of mobile satellite and communication solutions.
Delivery of initial accommodation unit supplied by ICS first involved manufacturing and fully constructing the structure at their factory in Thomastown, Victoria and then breaking it down for container transport to PNG. Once in PNG, the components were road freighted to the foothills of the southern highlands of central Papua New Guinea.
“With customers in all corners of Australia delivering our buildings to remote and difficult to access locations is nothing new for us,” commented Michael. SMS Sunshine also supported this project by donating around three and a half tonnes of BlueScope GALVABOND® steel for the construction of floor structure.