Donated Dictionaries Headed to Pohnpei, Micronesia (FSM)

A South Carolina based nonprofit has sent a thousand English language dictionaries to the picturesque Island of Pohnpei. Its one of four states in the Central Pacific Ocean that make up the string of islands called the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The dictionaries include an abbreviated atlas, something local island students can use to learn more about distant North American geography.

This unique donation is enough to provide every eighth grade student across Pohnpei State with something previously unheard of – a dictionary of their very own.

More than forty boxes of books will soon arrive in the Pohnpeian city of Kolonia. They will be distributed to the 900 eighth grade students who are enrolled in the roughly 30 public schools across Pohnpei and its Outer Islands. Dictionaries are also enroute to eighth grade students at the Pohnpei SDA School, Calvary Christian Academy, and the Pohnpei Catholic School, as well as readers at the downtown public library.


Waa’gey and Yap Catholic High School launched Culture Program

Outside their classrooms, over twenty students and classroom teacher Patrick Kelly from the Yap Catholic High School (YCHS) along with Waa’gey volunteers were clearing under a shady tree that will become their carving site for the next few months.

A fallen log that had been cut down during the initial clearing of the new school campus was identified for the students to carve their fist canoe.

Before all the carving took place, Larry Raigetal of Waa’gey gave some safety tips on how to handle carving tools including adzes.  A brief lecture was also given on core principles and fundamental values of canoe carving.  The students waste no time is getting their first hands on experience by starting to carve out the main hull of the canoe.

The project which had been in discussion between Waa’gey and YCHS for the past few months was put into motion following a school visit by Waa’gey volunteers where a presentation was given to students on the values of traditional skills including canoe building and navigation.  Mr. Kelly who teaches at the school said the project will also allow students, particularly those who are skilled in hand work to carve other things such as the school seal and crosses to be put on the classrooms.  “The students are very excited in doing this extracurricular work “said Mr. Kelly


Habele installing computer lab on Pohnpei

Habele, a US-based charity, has inaugurated a computer science education program on the Micronesian island of Pohnpei. With the financial assistance of donors Barbara and Ray Dalio, Habele has begun shipping computers, software, and related accessories to Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School in Pohnpei.

The charity is working closely with Sr. Isabel Seman at Our Lady of Mercy to build the most appropriate computer lab possible for the school’s needs.

“The idea is to teach students the information technology skills they will need the rest of their lives,” said Neil Mellen, a director of Habele. “The twenty-first century is going to be online, and high school students in Micronesia need to start preparing for that reality now.”

Habele has sent the school Mac computers, monitors, peripherals, and the most common commercial software applications students will encounter. The choice of Macs rather than PCs will help familiarize Our Lady of Mercy students with the types of computers used at most of the higher education institutions in the western Pacific, assisting students with the often-difficult transition from high school to university.

Habele aims to provide the school with a total computer package: all the equipment needed to set up a first-rate lab, plus assistance with the installation.


Yap schools are getting new jerseys

Written by Duane M. George of the Pacific Daily News

Some youths in Yap will wear real high school sports jerseys for the first time ever.

Habele, a U.S.-based charity, sent custom-designed sports uniforms to Yap Catholic High School and SDA School, two private high schools in Yap, according to a news release from the charity.

Habele has been working with the two private schools for years, providing scholarships to needy students, supplying the robotics program and making the targeted donation of library materials.

The uniforms -- the first of their kind for both schools, the release stated -- will help inaugurate intramural sports leagues at both schools. Previously, the students crafted crude jerseys out of old T-shirts by spray-painting numbers using handmade cardboard stencils, the news release states.

"We're tremendously excited to be helping the high schools with their nascent sports programs," said Alex Sidles, a Habele director. "These uniforms will give the students a lot of pride and enthusiasm for their schools."


Habele supporting intramural sports on Yap

US-based charity Habele has sent a collection of sports uniforms to Yap Catholic High School and SDA School, the two private high schools on the Micronesian island of Yap. The uniforms, the first of their kind for both schools, will help inaugurate intramural sports leagues at both schools.

“We’re tremendously excited to be helping the high schools with their nascent sports programs,” said Alex Sidles, a Habele director. “These uniforms will give the students a lot of pride and enthusiasm for their schools.”  Previously, the students had been crafting crude jerseys out of old t-shirts by spray-painting the cloth beneath handmade cardboard stencils.

The new uniforms feature the schools’ names and colors on one side—light blue for Yap Catholic, maroon for SDA—and can also be turned inside-out to reveal a white side. The American made reversible jerseys allow the schools to set up teams within their own campuses.


Islands' Chiefs Learn About Cultural After School Program

Waa’gey founder and volunteer Mr. Larry Raigetal gave a presentation to the Council of Tamol (chiefs) from the neighboring islands of Yap on the ongoing activities of his group's work.

Waa'gey is a Habele supported extracurricular program. It uses a mentorship model to support at-risk high school aged students through the instruction of traditional cultural skills.

Following a brief introduction from Andy Tafileichig, the acting Chairman of the council, Mr. Raigetal provided a brief summary of what the program mission and objectives were.  He said, Waa’gey is premised on the need to protect and safeguard our dynamic cultures by providing hands on opportunities in canoe carving, rope making, fish trap making, and weaving among others for the younger generation of the state.   Raigetal also briefed the councilmen on Waa’gey’s key partnership with two foreign entities namely a US based charity organization Habele and Yapital a European company. He said both organizations have been very supportive in providing tools and equipment to support Waa’gey in addition to providing scholarships for Yapese students attending private primary and secondary schools.


Books Headed to Pohnpei, Micronesia

US-based charity “Habele” has begun shipping books to the Micronesian island of Pohnpei as part of a statewide public literacy project. The books include reference materials, cultural research literature, and regional histories. There are also texts dealing with local languages, arts and plants. The books are headed for high school and public libraries, where they will be available to both students and the community at large.

Neil Mellen, a Habele Director, explains: “Public access to topically relevant works is limited. There aren’t bookstores, and many people don’t have the money or the computer access to buy books through the Internet. Brick and mortar libraries may be on the decline here in the US, but in Micronesia, they’re still the cornerstone of a well-read, educated public.”

The donation -nearly a thousand hand-chosen texts- ranges from scholarly collections of source documents detailing early western contact with Micronesia, to children’s books about traditional and contemporary arts in the Pacific. There are also detailed reference guides to local fishes as well as fiction and poetry books by native Oceanic authors. Support for the effort was provided by Habele’s US network of volunteers and donors, and in particular, Ray and Barbara Dalio of Greenwich, Connecticut.