The National – Monday, February 14, 2011
By ALISON ANIS
ONE of Papua New Guinea’s biggest retailing networks City Pharmacy Ltd (CPL) has pledged to support women who are victims of violence by allowing them to seek temporary refuge while doing their shopping at its retail outlets nationwide.
CPL reaffirmed its support last Friday by being part of the Law and Justice Sector ((LJS), Yumi Lukautim Mosbi (YLM) women empowerment initiative, the “Meri Seif Ples” programme.
The launch was witnessed by LJS representatives including key members of PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“CPL joined the programme in 2008 and has always been a strong advocate for women-oriented cause and women empowerment programmes like the annual community service project, the pride of PNG awards for women where they honour ordinary PNG women who do extraordinary things to serve their community and countrymen,” said CPL pharmacist with Boroko City Pharmacy outlet, Lindi Anton.
Anton, who spoke on behalf of the company, said as part of its commitment, CPL had involved their stores nationwide where women who were victims of violence could seek temporary refuge in their stores while the store manager or staff could call the Meri Seif Ples hotline to pick them up and assist them in their needs.
“I feel proud to be chosen by CPL Group to be part of this great initiative of Meri Seif Ples. It is a great honour for me to address issues related to harassment of women in Port Moersby and in PNG,” Anton said, adding that she could recollect at least 12 instances where her fellow colleagues had rescue several women who had approached employees seeking shelter while doing their shopping in their supermarket and pharmacy outlets.
“We have had several threats from the bad elements of the community but our management has put its foot down and continued supporting this programme,” she added.
Anton explained that Meri Seif Ples was a practical opportunity for the community to offer respite for people under an immediate threat of violence.
“It is an immediate and practical way to avoid potential domestic violence. The potential victim will receive immediate shelter and the potential abuse has an enforced ‘cool off’ period with the opportunity to avoid committing a crime,” she said.
Anton urged all men and women who respect women to join hands with CPL and YLM on the initiative and erase violence against women.