Goroka / Mt Hagen
These towns in the PNG highlands are surrounded by fertile land. Their rapidly growing populations face many issues including unemployment, high crime rates, domestic violence and poor access to health and education. Many people coming from other locations have to live in settlements, building their own makeshift homes.
Located in the centre of both towns, our drop-in centres are available for information, referrals and emotional support.
Bihute and Baisu prisons
Mercy Works is one of the primary organisations in the PNG highlands that provide rehabilitation services in prisons. We work with the male, female and juvenile prisoners offering training in skills such as sewing, bilum making, soap making as well as budgeting, marketing and human rights training. We sell the products they create at the Mercy Markets and save their money for when they’re released.
Skills development and awareness raising
Responding to local requests, we provide training sessions at the Mercy Works drop-in centres and by visiting settlements and outlying villages. We often use local skilled people to carry out training in areas such as dressmaking, cooking, growing and preserving vegetables. We support these training sessions with budgeting and marketing training so people can lift their skills and earn a living.
Every fortnight in Goroka we hold the Mercy Market. Here, people who have attended our training sessions are able to sell their wares and demonstrate their skills. As well as providing support for people trying to establish small businesses, the markets act as an inspiration for others on what can be achieved by learning skills. Those with access to mobile phones and internet, are also able to advertise their wares on Facebook.
Working with children in child labour
In Mt Hagen we work with the street boys, also known as ‘Taxi boys’, who are involved in back-breaking work carrying heavy loads of produce at Mt Hagen market. We run programs to help develop their skills in other areas. We’ve also helped establish an AFL team, the Mercy Swans to enable them to participate in the kind of fun sporting activities boys of their age should be able to enjoy.
Radio is a vital means of communication in PNG as every village has access to a radio, even if they don’t have electricity. In Goroka and Mt Hagen we have weekly programs, highlighting human rights, discussing rights and responsibilities and spreading important information.
Raising Awareness – International Days
We take advantage of international days to lift people’s awareness of their rights and available services. Days we participate in include:
- International Action for Women’s Health
- International Day for Action against Drug Abuse
- International Day for the Elderly
- World Youth Day
- End Violence Against Women
Over 2016 to 2018 it is hoped that as many as 100 young people will be able to take up tertiary studies because of donor generosity. These students come from Wewak, Goroka and Mt Hagen regions. The scholarships cover the course tuition fees, accommodation and travel. A small monthly allowance is also paid to help with extras in their time away from home while studying.
Currently, several major building projects are under way to provide boarding facilities at Banz near Mt Hagen, and Kainantu near Goroka.