Social Justice at Flynn's Tours
Flynn’s Tours is committed to funding school fees and living expenses for female students in Papua New Guinea. Funds are sourced from tour packages bought by the company’s clients who participate in tours to Outback Australia, Japan, New Zealand as well as Papua New Guinea. Every day in Papua New Guinea, girls face barriers to education caused by poverty, cultural norms and practices, poor infrastructure, violence and fragility.
Access to education shouldn’t be determined by a child’s gender yet 130 million girls globally are out of school and 15 million girls of primary school age will never enter a classroom.
Educating girls gives them the freedom to make decisions to improve their lives, which has deep social implications.
Giving girls access to schooling is a central part of eradicating global poverty according to the World Bank which says better educated women tend to be healthier, participate more in formal labour markets, have fewer children and marry later.
"Every girl, no matter where she lives, no matter what her circumstance, has a right to learn. Every leader, no matter who he or she is or the resources available to him or her, has a duty to fulfil and protect this right." - Malala Yousafzai, Student, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and co-founder of the Malala Fund, said in the foreword to the research report 'What Works in Girls' Education.
On the ground in Papua New Guinea, Flynn’s Tours employs locals, predominately females, as guides, cooks and provision and administrative managers. Jobs created by tourism, although welcome, are low-paid and seasonal and starkly contrast with the comparative wealth of tourists.
Flynn’s Tours encourages it’s Papuan New Guinean staff, through direct funding and mentoring, to pursue other career and educational opportunities to complement their tourism and hospitality skillset in order to broaden their range of experiences and future options.
Noella Theonilla Kote
When it was Noella’s turn to embrace tertiary education, the family’s economic circumstances had taken a turn for the worse and Noella’s important educational opportunity was slipping by.
Following a chance meeting with Flynn’s Tours staff in the Port Moresby hotel where Noella had found casual work, she commenced working for Flynn’s Tours as an administrative assistant.
The company decided to fund Noella’s desire to commence a 2 year course for a “Diploma in Business Management” at East New Britain’s Kokopo Business College.
Successful graduation led to Noella been offered an administrative position at Agmark, a prominent PNG enterprise servicing the New Guinea Islands. In recent years Noella has held the position of Assistant Registrar at St Peter Chanel Teachers College in Kokopo where she is highly regarded as a conscientious and diligent administrator.
Employment opportunities outside the tourism sector have become particularly important during the Covid pandemic.
Since 2011 Noella has accompanied our clients as a Tour Guide in her home province of East New Britain, the island of Bougainville and the Eastern Highlands and Sepik region on the PNG mainland.
Flynn’s Tours funded a month long vocationally based stay in Australia for Noella to give her an insight into the type of society our clients were coming from.
Pictured top left is Noella on her graduation day and left is Noella guiding Australian couple from Melbourne Phil and Wendy Potter, arriving at night on Pokpok Island off the coast of Bougainville while on a Flynn's Tour of Papua New Guinea
Joanne "Jo Jo" Baul
Joanne Baul is from Pilapila Village on the North coast of the Gazelle Peninsula in East New Britain, not far from the town of Rabaul. Joanne in recent years has acted as a guide for Flynn’s Tours showing them the places of interest around Kokopo and the Rabaul Caldera. There is nothing Joanne enjoys more than sharing her local knowledge and her experiences of growing up in one of the most stunningly beautiful destinations in Papua New Guinea.
In 2017 Joanne completed a 2 year Diploma in Early Childhood Development at the Bismarck Teachers college at Kokopo in East New Britain with financial assistance from Flynn’s Tours.
With similar assistance from Flynn’s Tours, Joanne successfully graduated with a certificate in Tourism and Hospitality at Missionary Training College & Academy at Kokopo in East New Britain in 2020. She achieved that during covid, while awaiting a teaching positon.
2021 has seen Joanne embark on her teaching career, educating students at St. Michaels Catholic Elementary School at Kokopo in East New Britain.
Pictured above right is Joanne on top of a steaming volcano, Mt Tavurvur and pictured right is Joanne guiding the Low family from Canberra, Australia on their Flynn's Tour of East New Britain island in the Bismark Sea of the mainland off Papua New Guinea. They are pictured here with local landowners at the sulphuric hot springs at the base of Mt Tavurvur, an active stratovolcano and sub-vent of the Rabaul caldera
Damarish & Letisha Mando
Damarish Mando is the third born of seven siblings all residing on Muschu Island off Wewak Town in the East Sepik province, home of the mighty Sepik River.
The large but impoverished family battled economically to educate all their children which Flynn’s Tours founder Johnny Gannan has observed growing up on the Island which he first visited in 2007.
Funds have been provided in recent years to enable Damarish to complete years 11 & 12 of secondary education at the Matriculation Centre attached to the Divine Word University, Saint Benedict Kaindi Campus, Wewak, East Sepik Province.
Over the next couple of years she assisted the family in her mothers home village and provided guiding, cooking and provision management services for Flynn’s Tours’ small group tours of the Sepik River and Wewak Islands.
Damarish, with the financial assistance of Flynn’s Tours, has now embarked upon a four- year Diploma in Primary School Teaching at the Reverend Maru Memorial Teachers College in Wewak, East Sepik Province.
Damarish is following in the footsteps of her older sister, Letisha who graduated as a primary school teacher in 2018 and is teaching in a rural primary school in the Torricelli Ranges of the East Sepik Province.
Johnny Gannan’s parents, the late Tony and Mary Gannan provided financial assistance to assist Letisha’s successful completion of Martriculation in 2011 and 2012 and would be proud that Letisha is now bringing education to children in a remote area of Papua New Guinea. That area was one of the “theatres of war” in PNG where Corporal Tony Gannan fought the Japanese Imperial forces and where in Milak village in mid-March of 1945, distinguished himself over several days under sustained enemy fire.
Damarish is diligently applying herself to her studies and with the provision of Flynn’s Tours funding will join the growing band of educators that the tour companys’ profits are assisting.
Top picture is of Damarish with brother John Jnr in a Sepik River dugout canoe accompanying a Flynn's Tours group on a Sepik River adventure in 2018. Pictured above is 2nd from the right, a very young Letisha with friends accompanying Flynn's Tour guest Leanne Constantine on her 2007 visit to Kairuru Island off the Papua New Guinea coast. Little did Letisha know then that she was destined to graduate as a primary school teacher in 2018.
Rainu Beach Lodge - Muschu Island
During Flynn’s Tours’ first tour of Papua New Guinea in 2007 tour group founder Johnny Gannan came across the Mando family at Sup Village on Muschu Island in the Bismark Sea off the coast of Wewak, the regional capital of the East Sepik Province.
Utilising traditional methods and materials the family constructed a guest house, on the outskirts of the village on the shores of a picturesque palm fringed beach, a 30 minute dinghy ride from Wewak Town.
Flynn’s Tours provided improvements to the family project’s infrastructure including solar panels, batteries, a water tank with roofing and guttering for water collection, a full complement of cooking utensils and a solar powered fridge. These items along with many other bits and pieces were shipped in a specially constructed crate from Melbourne to Wewak via Lae, miraculously arriving unmolested and in a timely manner.
Johnny in consultation with village elders also provided a long due upgrade to the water reticulation system servicing a network of six villages at a cost of several thousand dollars.
The Rainu Beach Lodge is after thirteen years, a work in progress and a steep learning curve for all involved.
Like many examples of development in Melanesia, from the macro to the micro, the biggest challenge other than the obvious physical and financial hurdles is expectation management.
Perseverance, education and tolerance are key to even the smallest of achievements.
The PNG tropical island of Muschu is the location of Rainu Beach Lodge and the hosts, the Mando Family - from left father Mathew Mando, and very sadly the late James who passed away from a blood disease in January 2021, then it's John Jr, Damarish, Mother Rose and Aunty Rose . In front are Bradley and Augustine.