Inspired to create change in her community and encourage people to think critically when making decisions or resolving conflict, Wendy Tame has counselled over 1,000 individuals since opening a counselling practice in 2020. Wendy launched Family Empowerment Consultants after undertaking a Graduate Certificate in Counselling short course through Australia Awards PNG in 2019.
Wendy’s counselling practice serves the communities along the border of Imbonggu and Ialibu Pangia Districts in Southern Highlands Province. As a result, the communities have seen anti-social behaviour in youths decline, with many youths now engaged in productive community activities. The practice has also played a key role establishing peaceful homes and stronger marriages, through couples counselling and participation in conflict resolution.
In 2022, Wendy decided to open a childcare centre in Mokapoi village in Ialibu Pangia. Her vision for Edmond Hill Day Care is to raise awareness about child brain development and promote early childhood learning as a crucial stage in a child’s personal development.
The childcare centre enrolls children aged between 18 months and 7 years. Children are exposed to new routines, learn to create peer relationships and develop independence – all of which Wendy values as part of providing children a quality early childhood education for the best start in life. In addition, the childcare centre prepares and supports the children’s transition to formal grade school when they come of age.
Parents have reported observing their children exhibit learnt skills like good manners, reciting the alphabet and praying at home. Influenced by the school’s positive impact, parents have also made small but significant efforts to be involved. Some changed behaviors in parents include active participation in homework and learning activities, packing lunches for their kids, and doing the daily school drop off and collection – all things that they did not do before. Many parents have also sat in class to observe their child’s learning, which is encouraged by the childcare centre.
Wendy reflects on her personal growth saying, “By working on the project, it helped me to build self-confidence and courage. It also established my connections and network with people in the rural community. I had to develop training packages for my teachers to understand the concept that I was trying to establish, and by doing so, it sharpened my knowledge. Finance was always a setback, but because I had a passion for this, it never stopped me.”
Her passion and heart for her community have been the driving forces behind her community work, and Wendy plans to expand her childcare resources through sourcing stationery and library books for her pupils.