Tomorrow morning, a little too early for me, I will head out the door bound for Papua New Guinea.
I’m excited about this trip. One of the programs I manage in my ‘day job’ finds me in PNG every 6 weeks or so and twice a year, everyone involved in the program from Australian Aid to PNG program managers and a Sydney contingent of development workers comes together to look at how we can strengthen our collective impact. That’s what we’ll be doing this week and our focus will be on Gender Equality and how our program can reduce the incidence of Gender Based Violence in PNG.
Doctors Without Borders who work in some of PNG’s most violent provinces claim that they are dealing with levels of gender violence normally only experienced in war zones.
I am bracing for the stories that I know will make me sob, but feel so privileged to part of a way forward, always led by local people who have the best solutions to their own problems and beautifully, the many PNG male advocates who will raise their voices not their hands for women.
Seeing strength in weakness is counterintuitive. Yet there it is.
In the women whose faces have been bruised. In the tears and the soft but passionate voices that find the courage in a large group to say ‘enough’. In the poverty and the struggle where we see communities groaning under a heavy weight, working to find a way through.
Crisis breeds collaboration, strengthens community and brings hope.
We see this in the ‘a Girl & her world’ volunteer team and Girls all the time. It is inspirational.
I’ve never been able to put my finger on what it is that makes me come alive in the chaos of the developing country setting. But I think it’s this. Even amidst despair, lawlessness, hunger and lack of opportunity – there is hope, strength and an innate resilience that gives me a glimpse of the very best of humanity.
It makes me believe that amidst my own darkness and mess, I can find that strength and be that resilient.
Our feature pic is of one of our sweet ones in Fiji who is standing alongside a new panel on her house. She is proud that it has a new wall. She sees strength in weakness.
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Jane for team ‘a Girl & her world’
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