Association created to protect women vendors

National

AN association has been formed to look after the safety and interests of women vendors in Port Moresby markets.
Safe City, Safe Market for Women Association president Mestar James said it was formed in partnership with UNwomen, National Capital District Commission and police.
“We started the association to make it safe for women and children. Women can stay safely at the market to do their business and children can be free and safe to walk to school,” James said.
“We have 300 members who have family units. If we get educated people, they might not stand up for us grassroots. So we formed the association.”
She said 51 women started the UN women safe city project.
“Some mothers are educated and can find jobs but for most of us who do not have proper education, our children rely on us through our marketing,” she said.
“For some mothers, their husbands left them. Some husbands have many wives and left them with the children,” she said. “Some are widows.
“They sell at the market to put food on the table or pay for school fees, lunch money, bus fares.”
She thanked UNwomen and other partners for coming up with the safe market programme.
“Police chase us around the markets. They beat us. I have a scar on the hand as a reminder of it. They remove our bilum and they do all kinds of things to us. But now with this association we feel safe,” she said.

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