Nuns visit safe houses in B’ville on study tour


FIVE nuns of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate (DMI) congregation from Kokopo recently went on a study tour of safe houses in Bougainville.
They included DMI leader Sr Wilhelmina Sundu, Sr Kostka Tutuo, Sr Gerarda Kaliop, Sr Xavier Gunan, and Sr Serah Malaivuye.
They were accompanied by a Kokopo-based New Zealand Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) volunteer, Laura Barnett.
From Aug 14-24, the group toured the three operating safe houses in Buin, Arawa and Chabai.
All three safe houses are part of the Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation (NCfR), and the Congregation of Sisters of Nazareth under the leadership of Sr Lorraine Garasu.
The DMI sisters are planning to establish the first safe house in East New Britain with the support of the Catholic Archdiocese of Rabaul.
The ENB Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC) has identified the lack of a refuge for survivors of family and sexual violence as the number one gap in FSV service provision in the province.
Sundu was grateful for the donations the group received and is reaching out for government support of family and sexual violence.
“I sincerely thank our initial partners PNG Air, Roar4PNG, Volunteer Service Abroad, the people of goodwill, especially the expatriates from Rabaul, Sr Lorraine Garasu and laities of Bougainville, for making our tour of Bougainville happen,” she said.
“I recognise that so many lives of infants, children, youth, men and women are disregarded, destroyed and buried as a result of domestic violence, which is a turmoil in an individual, family and community.
“We need constant support from the provincial and PNG governments to do this work together.”
The DMI sisters rely on NCfR as a leading community organisation in the provision of services for response and prevention of family and sexual violence.
NCfR provided information on a wide range of topics as a preliminary training for the sisters.
Topics covered include  gender and human rights, theology and gender equality, types of family and sexual violence, safe house operations, receiving clients, referral pathways and network of partners, male advocacy, interim protection orders and confidentiality.