Mymie is a four-year-old girl who is attending school in West Taraka, which locals consider one of the most dangerous suburbs in Lae, Papua New Guinea. Every day, she walks 45 minutes from home to school. During the recent Child Safety Day supported by Femili PNG and other partners, Mymie and her mother learned about basic safety rules, potential risks and child rights principles. It was the first time Mymie and her mother had heard this information about safety, and children’s value within their family and society. Three hundred other children and their families also heard this important information, many also for the first time.
Femili PNG was one of the many organisations that supported Child Safety Day in Lae on 3 September 2016, organised by the Police Family Sexual Violence Unit (FSVU). The day’s theme was “Please Protect Me – I am the Future of PNG”.
In her keynote speech, Ms. Nellie McLay, business representative at the Morobe Provincial Government, emphasised the special place of children in society.
“Children, you are the most important people in your homes. Not your dad or mum. You are the future of this country, therefore it is very important for everyone to protect each of you from any form of violence.”
Participating organisations led many activities for children on the day, such as: face-painting; making footprints; finger-tracing, education on nutrition, hygiene, handwashing, children’s rights and safety rules; and distribution of ice cream and Colgate hygiene packages for kids.
Children from a number of schools in Lae performed songs, danced and entertained the audience. Local singer, Alang Isaac, received a warm welcome when she sung Whitney Houston’s song, Greatest Love of All.
Stakeholders including Femili PNG, the Child Protection Office, the Family Support Centre, Save the Children, Lioness Club of Lae, Lae Huon Gulf Rotary Club, Susu Mamas, Correctional Services, Australian Defence Force and International SOS supported running the various activities.
Local businesses such as Remington, Speedy Kiwi, Panamex, Zenag, Theodist, Laga Industries, Colgate Palmolive, Ramu Sugar and Guard Dog Security also provided support to ensure the day was a great success.