Perched on the eastern tip of Papua New Guinea, lies Alotau; capital of Milne Bay Province and home to 15,000+ people.
Though there are no main roads that lead to Alotau, the friendly, coastal town is the gateway to some of the most remote island communities in the world. Alotau is also now home to YWAM’s newest campus; YWAM Alotau.
The campus is being established in partnership with Kwato Church of Papua New Guinea; a ministry with a rich history in training and empowering young people throughout Milne Bay Province for over a century.
Bishop Dago Walino said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between YWAM and Kwato Church last week.
“We signed the agreement last week to ensure that YWAM’s engagement is established to a greater level in the country. We believe as a church, that the training programs that YWAM provides will benefit and empower our young people to reach their full potential as the individuals God intended them to be,” said Bishop Walino.
The pioneering team for the YWAM Alotau Campus have now moved into Kwato Church’s two-storey property, known as the “Youth Empowerment Centre.” The centre was built two years ago and is kitted out with a classroom, dining room, kitchen, eight bedrooms, balcony, and land surrounding the property.
When one steps on to the property, it is hard not to imagine the space filled with young people from all over the world; learning and living together, all on a journey toward reaching their full potential.
YWAM Medical Ships Managing Director, Mr Ken Mulligan, said that the new campus is an exciting step forward.
“We see such hunger in the young people here to learn and do great things with their lives. This campus is all about helping each individual discover their unique gifts and talents, and equipping them with what they need to then use those talents in practical ways.
“We have a very holistic training approach – it is about developing skills alongside character, which go hand-in-hand when it comes to the development of the individual,” said Mr Mulligan.
Two-week introductory seminars will run over the next number of months covering a range of topics including micro-enterprise, basic health care, and community technology, delivered in partnership with YWAM University of the Nations, Hawaii.
YWAM University of the Nations Executive Director, Mr Paul Childers said that the pilot seminars will gauge the appropriate style for training delivery as they progress toward delivering nationally accredited training in the future.
“Our desire is for the training to be culturally relevant and engaging to help young people not only attain skills, but to also gain a true understanding on their value and their part to play in building their nation.
“These first few months are really about hearing from the students and the local community as we get to know each other, and together explore the best strategy for long-term results,” said Mr Childers.
There has already been a fantastic response from local young people; all of the seminars are booked up until the end of March.
While it is early days for the YWAM Alotau Campus, the potential and hope for what is to come is evident among the YWAM team and the local community. The best is yet to come!
An inside glimpse into the YWAM Alotau Campus