Volunteer service likely to end

National, Normal


SEVERAL volunteer service organisations in Madang province engaged with non-governmental organisations (NGO) are likely to close down after the continuous assault on them by local youths.
The NGOs met  soon after the rape and assault on an elderly expatriate woman at her home last week.
The volunteer expatriates said during the meeting that many of them had  been continuously harassed, intimidated and abused by local youths on several occasion over the years.
They said these abuse were becoming major threats to them and their families.
One of the first organisations to cease operation and move out was the Fred Hollow’s Foundation, an NGO group which specialises in assisting people with eye problems.
The organisation was based at the Modilon General Hospital.
It was revealed that the specialist doctor  was held up by the same group of youths, who were from the surrounding hospital and health workers community.
There were several other similar but minor incidences that were reported.
Another group of volunteers who were held up by youths were the Medicins Sans Frontieres or the doctors without border after  just two months in the province.
Medicins Sans Frontieres  were involved in assisting the cholera-hit people in the province.
In a similar incident, an elderly woman with the Summer Institute of  Linguists (SIL) was shot at by criminals at James Barnes after dropping off  her husband at the airport.
They said that the rape of the long- time resident was just the tip of the iceberg.
 Many of them had fallen victims to criminal elements in the past, they added.
The organisations plan to withdraw their services but were still waiting for  response from the provincial government  on how it was addressing the law and order issues in the province.
Madang is home to many NGOs working in different areas and have many expatriate volunteers.
The volunteers said that they were here to assist the people but the people did not appreciate what they did for them.
They said that they would be living with the people but since their lives were at risk, they usually decided to sleep in expensive places which they should not be doing.
Meanwhile, peace-loving citizens have condemned the criminals and called on the Government to introduce tougher laws on perpetrators, claiming the laws passed already were not been abided by.
The citizens said this was  the reason why criminals were carrying on their activities.
Many organised crimes  in Madang are committed by youths  with middle class working families.
There are also several  hot spot settlements that were invovled in criminal activities.