This was what Rabura Aiga, winner of the 2016/17 Hertz Leasemaster Community Entrepreneur award, said.
Aiga’s passion to meaningfully engage youth saw him win the Award, followed by an equally passionate Papua New Guinean, Ronald Kompo.
Speaking at the 2017 Men of Honour Awards gala dinner, he said: “I live for my granddaughters to one day enjoy this right. I believe that if everyone is given an equal opportunity to complete their education and make an honest living, we can make huge inroads to addressing the problem of harassment.”
A staunch Motuan leader, Aiga is from Vabukori, one of the six indigenous Motu Koita villages on whose land Port Moresby is built today. Over the course of time, Aiga has seen the decay of system that held traditional communities together, where mothers and daughters were once revered and respected. He attributes the breakdown to poor education and poorer opportunities.
This is what drove him to design the Yumi Lukautim Mosbi Project whilst he was a project coordinator with the National Capital District Commission in 2009. Funded by AUSAID, this was an initiative to strategically address the root cause of petty crime in Port Moresby through careful planning and implementation of the YLM project.
Aiga’s former NCDC colleague, Steve Simms, described him to be a soft spoken yet stern leader whose good character and clear direction earned him the respect and trust of youth in some notorious parts of Port Moresby
“We can’t say our youth are not bright. Our education system does not give them the opportunity to complete their schooling for a chance to participate meaningfully,” Aiga said.
This became his focus area to fulfil a gap in the education system in his community, to give the youth a chance to better themselves through skills training in the hope of being employed and finding value in life, preoccupying them from being involved in criminal activities.
This program was actually strategically implemented around youth employment to achieve an urban safety outcome.
Over the years, he has empowered many youths and changed, forever, the lives of hundreds of people.
To partner with this project, Aiga worked with gang leaders from each of the settlements who became advocators for youth, giving them shirts to wear, recognising them as protectors of the community.
Aiga successfully converted criminals to become good citizens.
The YLM pilot project has since ceased but became a legacy, giving birth to the now Urban Youth Program currently run by the NCDC, cementing the Tertiary and Vocational Education Training Scholarship most commonly known as TVET.
Aiga continues to render his services to NCDC as a consultant and also to his community and church to satisfy his passion in giving women and children a safe environment to live in and marginalised communities a chance to have a better life.