Hagen youths begin awareness

Highlands, Normal

The National, Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A LOCAL youth group from Koglam village, outside Mt Hagen, is combating alcohol and drug abuse among young people in their community.
In addition, the group was doing HIV/AIDS awareness, saying the deadly disease had become endemic in Mt Hagen and the Western Highlands.
As part of their initiative, the group of 14 young men and two adults walked the famous Bull Dog track used during World War II.
Group’s spokesperson Andrew Pup said on arrival in Port Moresby last week their walk was to raise money for their awareness work to the wider Hagen Central area.
Pup said HIV/AIDS, alcohol and drug abuse by young people was ever increasing and they could no longer ignore it.
 “We saw that drug and alcohol (homebrew) are destroying young people like ourselves and we did not want to be part of the trend.
“We decided to pull out of the problem and try to advocate for better and healthier lifestyles in the communities,” Pup said.
He said the group decided to walk the famous track as part of a fundraising drive.
It took them four nights and three days to reach Port Moresby.
Pup said they left Mt Hagen on March 20 and arrived in Wau two days later.
They then began their walk and carried out awareness campaigns in the communities they slept in at night.
The group is planning to return home in two to three weeks.