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Sharing with the readers my experiences through my travel, interaction with different cultures and my involvement through community work! Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Community Work in PNG

Believe me, community work is an addiction. The more you get involved, the more you want to do!

While living in Kenya, I was not a part of any women’s group or NGO but was briefly associated with ‘East African University Women’s Association’, ‘American Women’s Association’, ‘Aga Khan Community Work Scheme’ etc and I did participate in a lot of community projects through the various modes available.
In Kenya, we used to take students to an HIV-AIDS care home in Pangani where they had a number of homeless HIV-AIDS children cared by an American couple, they depended on overseas funding for the running of the place. The idea was to make young students realize the concept of community-work and at the same time spend some time with the children in the ‘home’. Also carried out a number of clean-up projects with my students. We also started a ‘Society for the Betterment Of Women’ with students in one of the private schools I was teaching in and conducted a few activities including a workshop ‘Women’s Rights are Human’s right’.

When we moved to PNG, our daughter was now older and I could concentrate on my community activities much more and this is where I joined ‘Soroptimist international’. Being a Soroptimist, sky is your limit; you have a platform that you can operate from and a bunch of like-minded professional women with a passion for helping other women.

A few links from what has appeared in newspapers here:

www.arha.org.au/latest_headlines/2005/ November_Headlines/Call%20for%20unity%20in%
www.postcourier.com.pg/20040513/mamose02.htm - 4k - Supplemental Result
www.thenational.com.pg/0226/nation27.htm - 16k - Supplemental Result
www.thenational.com.pg/1110/nation35.htm - 27k - Supplemental Result

I will include one of the annual reports (my last year's report as President for the second term) in order to give a flavour of the work done last year.

PRESIDENT’S ANNUAL REPORT, SI of Lae, PNG
(26TH FEB. 2005 TO 24TH FEB. 2006)

Dedication and Acknowledgements:

Before I begin, I dedicate this morning in memory of the massive loss during London bombing, earthquake in Pakistan, and massive landslide in Philippines, Manam Volcano eruption.

It was a productive year with lots of exciting events in a years’ time. The different committees worked very well as a result, I have plenty to report.

I would like to give a big thank you to all the members of SI of Lae for their support in making my second term run smooth. I wish I could thank each one of you individually. Some of us have earned very valuable friendship and love in the process and that is the reward of Soroptimism.

On behalf of the club I thank Sir Bob Sinclair and staff of Lae International Hotel for the providing us the venue for meetings and functions and their cooperation again for the year 2004. Thanks are also due to all the business houses for their generous support, various clubs for coming together for different activities, Morobe Provincial Administration, Lae Chamber of Commerce, media that is Post Courier, National, Morobe F.M., EM TV and the Lae/ Port Moresby community at large.

We could not have done all this without the support from our families and we are extremely humbled by their enormous support and patience, I don’t think we can thank them enough.

A big round of applause for the secretary for minutes Tina Nath and Acting Secretary Cenona Ramos (for filling in from time to time) for their efforts in compilation of minutes.

I would like to thank my daughter who helped us tremendously with all the computer work not only this year each time during her holidays when she came to PNG for Trivia Nite and 4th Extension Meeting but since 1999. We acknowledge her assistance to SI of Lae.

Activities: A Brief Summary

We started the New Year 2005 with a combined event of ‘Saturday of Service’ 5th March/ International Women’s Day 8th March. We decided to do a clean up at the Yalu Community Church followed by donation of paints and oven. Indian and Philipino recipes using local produce were demonstrated and nutrition value of the food was highlighted.

Late Feb. till May is a busy time for the Trivia Nite committee. It’s our major fundraising event. We work as a group and it is a wonderful example of teamwork. It’s worthwhile mentioning that despite the stress and hard work, at the end of this exercise we always feel it was worth it. I have enjoyed coordinating this exercise this year too as it gives me personal satisfaction. This year, we made an all time high profit of K 20,000 plus.

Then came 5th June, World Environment Day, the committee went and participated in the celebrations at the stadium, conducted the annual poster competition, this year’s theme was ‘Clean Place: My Country, My Home’. Judging the poster competition was fun too.

Yalu has come a long way since its inception as the project FIVE-O in 1995. The initial focus on the Vocational Training Centre has now spread to other areas of education, health and environment. Yalu has secured donations from CDS-AUSAID towards the permanent CLC, which will be built this year by networking well with NGO’s. Other NGO’s are interested in the Holistic Community Development Concept and I am pleased to report that Yalu CLC will be used as a pilot project. Training on ‘Working With Your Community’ (WWYC) was conducted at Yalu village and 10 participants received certificates on completion of their training.

SI of Lae was delighted with the news that ‘Halt Family Violence’ project has been awarded an extension as the Federation project for another two years at the conference in Wellington during Easter. It is a big achievement for the club. I would like to acknowledge the hard work put by the committee and all the members of SI of Lae. We had nominated Naomi for the Federation Convener for Education and Verity for the Federation Convener for International Goodwill and Understanding and we were proud to have these two ladies win these positions again unopposed. In the meantime, at the local scene, the increasing workload at the ‘Women and Children Support Centre’ resulted in recruiting a part time Secretary. Australian Business Volunteer, Eversley Ruth was instrumental in improved management of various tasks, realization for the need of secretary at the centre and two workshops with Anastasia (Family Sexual Violence: Workshop 1 on ‘Basic Counseling’ and Workshop 2 on ‘Advanced Counseling and Train the Trainer’) during her one-month stay in March-April 2005. This year we had some successful workshops conducted by Anastasia. Some of the participants have been great assistants to Anastasia on her various campaigns. She also made presentations at various workshop and conference organized by the government departments, NGOs, churches and the statutory bodies. Her awareness topics range from Halt Family Violence, HIV AIDS, New Amended laws of Sexual Violence and Wife Beating and Child Abuse. A good support and assistance to the Women Children and Support Centre and its staff Anastasia and Alvina from time to time from Margareth Samei and the staff of Angau General Memorial Hospital is acknowledged.

The International Goodwill and Understanding committee (Verity and Wendy) organized the poster and essay competition entitled ‘Say No to Guns’. A select few posters from this competition with the 30th Independence Anniversary posters were advertised in the VIP lounge during the celebrations in Lae.

The health committee with Pawan as the convener has been instrumental in giving support to the village women with basic items required during a delivery for mother and the baby. The committee has also been responsible in organizing and coordinating the tour of WCSC and Angau hospital for national and international visitors.

A majority of our time and energy was spent in starting up the second club in PNG, ‘Soroptimist International of Lae. The extension and publicity efforts were combined to make it a success. It involved endless emails/ phones/ faxes to the potential members, federation, committee members, planning meetings followed by training sessions in Port Moresby. The club was chartered on 26th Nov.in Port Moresby witnessed by 18 Soroptimists from Lae, Brisbane, Canberra, Townsville, Melbourne and Waitara, New Zealand. We are now very proud to have a sister club in the country.

Amendments to Minutes and Archives:
As recommended last year, all the archives for Lae are to be stored on CDs. Therefore, the minutes for 2005, all the reports; photographs are stored in CDs for the club’s archives.

Donations by SI Lae:
We made our annual contribution to Life Education Centre, Well Women’s Clinic, National Literacy Awareness, Sir Buri Kidu Heart Foundation, National Literacy Secretariat, National Women’s Doctors Association (towards Cancer unit for Port Moresby Hospital), Indian Association of PNG (towards Pulse Oxymeter for Angau Hospital), Lae Independence Committee, Soroptimist International Port Moresby (charter gift), Women and Children Support Centre and Halt Family Violence.

Donations and Funds to SI Lae:
2nd lot of donation of K10,000 by Lae District Administration to Women and Children Support Centre was received.
Funds for WCSC for the year 2005-2006 from the SISWP federation, CDS, CIMC, Horizon 3000 were received.
Funds for Yalu for the year 2005-2006 from CDS were received.
Trivia nite helped raise K 20,000 plus. A special mention of the personal donation of K1,000 made by David Wissink from Goroka. It just proves the enhanced reputation of SI Lae.

Visits:
Federation President Eileen Mitchell with 9 other Soroptimists from Australia and New Zealand visited Lae from 17th Nov to 25th Nov., which kept our members quite busy. They went back with fond memories of Lae.
SI NewZealand meeting attended by Verity SmithLoretz
SI Croydon, UK. Annual Inter-Club Friendship Dinner for SI Croydon and District attended by myself (Shikha).
National Council Meetings attended by National Rep. Jane Kenni
Parliamentary Gender Workshop attended by Jane Kenni.


Conference, Seminar and Workshops:
Anastasia conducted a number of workshops/ awareness talks on ‘Halt family Violence’ spread over the year 2005. She also made presentations at various workshop and conference organized by the government departments, NGOs, churches and the statutory bodies.
Verity and Nellie in partnership with other NGOs organized the forum on 22nd Nov. to mark ‘International Day of Prevention of Violence Against Women’ at Butibum village. It was a unique experience for Soroptimist for it was the first time to have gone out into the community and networking with local NGOs. Dame Kidu and President Eileen were the main speakers and captivated the Butibum community very well for a good 2 hours.

Membership:
Cynia Sanchez (Philippines) , Leanne Hickey (Australia), Theresa Katu (PNG) and Kaori Hayashi (Japan) were inducted to the club. 4 new members from four different countries in a year; a good effort indeed!
The club said goodbye to Hacey Abel and Aiyung Safatos.

Socials:
Coffee and snack sessions, a nite out at Yacht club, pool side party at Pauls, Picnic at Habitat, trip to Finschaffen any excuse to have a good time together with favourite bunch of friends and yes, we made sure we did them all.

Thank you all; I thoroughly enjoyed my second term as the President and look forward to yet another productive year 2006 with Naomi Wilkins as the President!

President 2005-2006
This is my report and hopefully readers got a fairbit of idea of our activities here.

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