Members of the Rugby League community have recently visited Papua New Guinea to deliver a unique project on New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea.
Bulldogs Chairman Ray Dib and Welfare and Bulldogs Education Manager Steve Pike were joined by former Bulldogs players Daniel Holdsworth, Jamie Feeney, Corey Hughes, Brad Morrin and Antonio Kaufusi, as well as Chris Heighington fresh from his Grand Final success and Manly Sea Eagles forward, Josh Starling.
The group arrived at Kavieng, New Ireland Province and spent six days covering a range of activities including building a new school classroom on Enuk Island, participating in community visits to remote villages in New Hanover and visiting school in the Kavieng district delivering messages in line with NRL Wellbeing.
The students and teachers were treated to Bulldogs merchandise and football gear that was issued to smiling faces.
During the school visits, players spoke to students about the importance of staying at school, respect for teachers, the importance of eating well and also ran coaching clinics.
This year was the fifth such visit of players and staff to the region and has proved popular with the locals who have become fanatic Bulldog supporters.
“I just love going up there. The people don’t have much and they’re very happy. I’d like to take my kids up there one day to show them that having ‘things’ doesn’t make you happy,” said Corey Hughes following his third visit to the region.
“We continued work on one of the schools that we’d started on last year. All of the players who went up have different skills so we give the locals a bit of direction and they help us out.
“Some of these places are very remote and it’s hard to get materials in so progress can be very slow. It’s good to walk away knowing that they’re in a better spot than when we started.”
Following his first trip to the Island with his family, Bulldogs Chairman Ray Dib was proud of the impact the club and the NRL community has made with the people of Papua New Guinea.
“It’s given me the assurance that we at the Bulldogs are doing great things as a club along with our players, both past and present,” Dib said.
“It’s a project that I see continuing to grow by providing more assistance with the help of our players and players from other NRL clubs.
“The generosity and hospitality from the local community was amazing and to be able to experience this opportunity with my family, will be one we won’t forget.”
Previous visits to the region have included maintenance works and construction on Nehemiah Christian School, Lemakot Health Centre, Taskul Health Centre and Enuk Island Community School, visits to over 20 schools in the New Ireland Province of PNG with over 4000 students having an exposure to rugby league programs and skills clinics and speaking to students on the importance of education and respect.
In 2014 members of the rugby league community the Kokopo/Rabaul in New Britain Province to assist with fundraising for the PNG NRL club Agmark Gurias and local charity Katim Na Halivim Pikinini who assist with organizing orthopaedic surgery for PNG children who normally would not have access to advanced medical care.
Since 2012 a number of past and present players have participated including, Moses Mbye, Marty Taupau, Adam Elliott, Leilani Latu, Paul Carter, Tim Browne, Mitch Brown, Luke Patten, Steve Turner, Mark O’Meley, Adam Peek, Andrew Patmore and Bryan Norrie.
The project was borne through Bulldogs Corporate Partner Leo Badcock and his Kavieng Hotel in 2012 with this year’s visit being supported by the by the Bulldogs, the NRL and Apprenticeship Support Australia, who as part of the NSW Business Chamber, support apprenticeship recruitment and retention.