for the 21st Century
Since our beginning days in PNG we were committed to the ministry of supporting, caring for and empowering women to take their rightful place in Papua New Guinea society. In the past, as mentioned above, we have done this through our health care and educational services. Today as well as these traditional ministries, we have as our special focus to respond to the needs of abused women and their children. To help us do this we purchased a house in Wewak, East Sepik Province. We provide whatever help is needed to remove a woman from a dangerous situation. This often involves simply providing the means and helping the woman to return to her family of birth.
We also realized that to restore peace in family life we must also look at ways to deal with attitudes of violence that perpetuate this endemic abuse of women and young girls. In February 2001 we became involved in “Alternatives to Violence Programme” and the “Help Increase Peace Programme.” In Melanesian Pidgin restoring and strengthening peace is called “Kirapim na Strongim Belisi”. We saw that training local leaders in the skills and attitudes of conflict transformation and nonviolence could be a viable option to the violence in PNG society. We are convinced that the attitude of “being a victim” increases violence while an attitude of deep respect for self and a sense of one’s own dignity has the opposite effect.
In October 2003 we completed the training of 45 local leaders, both men and women, in the skills and attitudes of conflict transformation and nonviolence. Since violence begets violence, one way of helping victims is to offer alternative ways of responding. Each person has a power within to transform a potentially violent situation into a peaceful one through developing the following attitudes:
Our goal is to help all people but especially women stop the violence in their lives by refusing to accept it, by saying no to being bullied even in little things. We are convinced that once this inner attitude of nonviolence and related skills is developed we will see more and more families living in harmony and peace.