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  • - Abigail Seta

Supporting women and girls in remote areas

Pictures by: Murray Misha, Lasalle Technical School Animator

Hohola, Port Moresby: A breakfast talk fundraiser to support girls, vulnerable women and communities in remote areas of Papua New Guinea was hosted by the Lasallian Women of Hope (LWOH) group on Saturday, 10th July 2021.

Held at the La Salle Technical College, the theme was ‘Healthy Women building Strong Communities.’ The event also celebrated the Lasallian’s 75 years of Mission and existence in PNG and gave a platform to speak on community issues especially on health and hygiene for women and girls.

Present for the breakfast talk as invited guests were Erin Elizabeth McKee, United States Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and the Republic of Vanuatu; Serena Sumanop, CEO of Digicel Foundation and Founder of the Voice Inc; Dr Gabriel Yohang, Head of Department of Rural and Generalist Medicine and Health Science; Sr Helen Hukula, Founder and SIC – Well Women Clinic and Fr Giorgio Licini, General Secretary of Catholic Bishops Conference.

In her keynote speech, the US Ambassador highlighted the opportunities that connects the US and PNG.

“I am heartened to see this nation increasingly committed to creating a national identity that includes women and girls. The US government and American people believe strongly that women’s development is instrumental for peace, prosperity and development,” she said.

“As we all know, efforts for gender equality are not about one group versus another but it is about all of us together for our daughters, sons, for future generations in PNG and around the world. This matters to all of us. Inclusion and full participation matters,” she said.

Following this, Mrs Sumanop shared on the work of Digicel Foundation and her experiences with working in rural health. Dr Gabriel also shared his experiences and spoke of women being a priority in PNG as most of them are in rural areas.

A panel discussion then followed were Mrs Sumanop, Dr Gabriel Yohang, Sr Helen Hukula and Fr Giorgio Licini brought about discussions on the importance of women’s health and wellbeing in terms of menstrual hygiene and cervical cancer and accessing health and education services.

The event had entertainment by Port Moresby Circus with breakfast prepared and catered by the hospitality students of La Salle Technical College.

According to Rose Polume, Chairperson for LWOH, the LWOH subsidiary is a group of women teachers in PNG that work in partnership with the De La Salle Brothers with the mission to reach out to schools, institutions and especially those in rural areas.

The group is currently running a project on sanitary pads for young girls who are unable to purchase monthly pads and health packages for young boys.

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