Self sustained school in need

A coffee plantation and coffee export business in the Tairora area of Eastern Highlands province continues to provide vital community services to the children and surrounding communities. The Baroida Plantation, owned and operated by the third generation of the Colbran family under the business name, Colbran Coffeelands Limited, has received much recognition for its services to the community.

Initially started by Ben Colbran in the early 1960’s, the plantation grew and acquired a coffee export license from the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) in 2011, under the management of father Nichol and his son Chris Colbran.

While running their coffee operation, they saw that there was a lack of vital government services like education, health, water and road infrastructure in the area. Despite their busy operation, they invested in a section of the Aiyura to Tairora road linking other major coffee estates like the Clarence and Korona plantations and major villages in the Obura Wonenera District and parts of Okapa District.

Their road investment was recognized, among others, by the CIC in 2008 during the launch of the PNG Coffee Industry Strategic Plan 2008 to 2018.

In addition, the Colbran family started an elementary school in 2009 for its staff’s children and the surrounding communities.

“When coffee plantations are supported and allowed to operate, the benefit flows to the entire community for generations, and in rural areas, coffee gets development happening much faster than governments do. It is another example of “lukautim kopi na kopi bai lukautim yu”, said Chris Colbran.

The school, now known as Baroida Plantation School, has built more classrooms and grown from elementary one and two to include grades one, two and three. They hope to continue developing the school up to grade six in the coming years.

“The school has been trying to get government support since 2006 but to date the government officials have not managed to get it registered so we are just continuing to build the school in the hope that one day the government will do something,” said Chris.

Baroida Plantation School students showing off their new school bags donated by Digicel PNG.

Digicel Foundation and the Lae Biscuit Company (LBC) have supported them. Digicel provided school bags, a container full of side windows for ventilation and LBC supplied notebooks. The container is being used as a community learning centre for health, education and other vital services.

Anyone willing to support the school in any way can contact the Colbran Office phone (+675 715-75985), facsimile (+61 7 33197306 or email: colbran_coffeelands@global.net.pg

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