Hela women unveil own trucking venture

Business, Normal

The National, Tuesday 24th January 2012

TARI-Pori MP and chairman of the Hela Transitional Authority James Marabe has praised a women’s group in the province for developing their own business enterprise without government support.
Speaking last Friday in Tari during the launching of the Hela Women’s Upstream Ltd (UHWL), an economic and social organisation with 200 members, he praised the members for being proactive in pursuing opportunities created by the PNG LNG project.
He was excited that the group had launched their very own Western Star semi-trailer-truck, which they bought with their own money.
This truck will become part of a fleet of 10 trucks managed by Trans Wonderland Ltd (TWL), a trucking firm owned by resource owners to service Oil Search, the PNG LNG project and other transport needs.
Marabe promised the UHWL members that the Hela provincial government, once it is created in July, would support their activities.
 Marabe also asked them to extend their shareholder base to many more women in the Hela region.
He also applauded the efforts of the TWL management and its directors for supporting a local community achievement like UHWL.
“You are leading the way without any government support.”
UHWL executive director Veronica Payawi said the plight of Hela women was ignored in many of the PNG LNG deals that were signed.
She said even though the PNG LNG project was to happen in front of their homes, many of the village women would not see many benefits or participate in the project and its spin-offs.
These benefits would go to the men.
She said the majority of Hela women would still be selling garden food and ice blocks at the local market and be subject to abuse from drunks and market tax collectors.
The women decided to form the group to improve their social and economic status in the resource rich province.
“With the upcoming LNG Project, most of the Hela women were ignored. Our silent pain was ignored,”
The UHWL was composed  of 196 individual women and four other groups.