The National, Wednesday January 15th, 2014
By NATASHA EMECK
A DIRECTORY of emergency services available to those affected by family and sexual violence across PNG will be available for the first time this year, thanks to a group of determined students.
Youth-led non-profit initiative Meri Toksave is aiming to address gender-based violence in PNG by overcoming the inaccessibility of emergency services contact information for those affected by family and sexual violence.
Founder and director of Meri Toksave Ayesha Lutschini, 23, said the group had originated from a rights based campaign when they realised there was a massive gap in information when it came to emergency services.
“We immediately adapted to the need when we realised nobody else had done this and it’s so critical, we decided we were going do it ourselves,” Lutschini said.
“The directory is such a basic tool, it lists police numbers and it lists hospital numbers, their location and what services they provide.
“It lists counselling, mental health services, sexual health services and legal support – all things someone suffering from family or sexual violence would need to know right then and there.”
The directory is the first of its kind and highlights the gaps in services throughout the country, especially in mental health, counselling, safe houses and paralegal support.
This week, hard copies of the directory are being delivered to NGOs operating across the country and Meri Toksave hopes it will be available soon across 10 provinces.
“Long term we would like to get into all 22 provinces and have a home-base for the directory in all 22,” Lutschini said.
Those in Port Moresby looking for a free copy of the directory can catch the Meri Toksave team at Vision City today from 9am-4pm. The directory is also available online at www.meritoksave.org.