1-Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain launches 24-hour service and new Facebook page

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Last time you were here, you were looking to help vulnerable children and families. Your support can save and change lives.

25 November 2020: The 1-Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain, Papua New Guinea’s only national telephone counselling and support service, is now available on a 24-hour basis to anyone experiencing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

Launched in partnership by ChildFund and CIMC (Family & Sexual Violence Action Committee) in 2015, the helpline has also launched a Facebook page, supporting efforts to provide information to potential callers, and promote referral services in local communities.

The helpline receives ongoing support from the New Zealand Aid Programme. The expansion of services in 2020 has been made possible due to St John Ambulance, UNICEF and UN Women.

The service hours have been expanded in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in a steep rise in callers seeking support on GBV incidents.

Trained counsellors – who offer callers help on issues ranging from crisis counselling, safety planning, and suicide intervention – can now be contacted at any time of day from any of the country’s 22 provinces via a toll-free Digicel number 7150 8000.

Since its inception, the 1 Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain has received over 40,000 calls and partnered with over 350 service providers nationwide. In 2019 alone, tele-counsellors responded to 23,000 calls and this number is expected to increase significantly in 2020.

A senior counsellor on the service [named withheld for privacy reasons] said: “When we launched the helpline five years ago, we did not anticipate the large numbers of people who would use the service.

“It has also been interesting to learn that the helpline is seen as a valuable resource not only by survivors of SGBV, but perpetrators seeking advice on behaviour change. We hope that by establishing a social media presence we can make more people aware of the service we provide, while having the ability to sharing regular resources and advice to a wider audience.”

Bridgette Thorold, Country Director of ChildFund PNG, said: “ChildFund and FSVAC are committed to implementing programs and services which address the causes of violence; build the capacity of our legal system, and strengthen the services available to survivors.

“Communities in PNG already experience high rates of family violence, and unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these tensions. With expanded hours and an online presence, the 1 Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain can help more people impacted by SGBV.”

In marking International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women, Marcia Kalinoe, National Coordinator of CIMC-Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee, said: “There is an urgent need for vital services like the helpline to be made available to more women, men and children through the country.

“However, everyone has a part to play in building peaceful communities. We can all take action to end violence in our homes, families, communities, villages, and workspaces.”

The 1-Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain is a partnership between ChildFund and CIMC (FSVAC) and is supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme. The expansion of services in 2020 has been made possible due to St John Ambulance, UNICEF and UN Women.

24 November 2020: 2020 has been a year to forget, but ChildFund Australia is giving everyone a chance to make it one to remember for children in our neighbouring countries by giving a Gift for Good this festive season.

The 2020 Gifts for Good catalogue, which is out now, is the opportunity to make a present of everything from handwashing stations to school supplies to children and communities in countries such as Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste.

ChildFund Australia CEO Margaret Sheehan said Australians were some of the most generous people in the world, particularly at Christmas.

Last year’s ChildFund Christmas survey found that 2 in every 5 Australians plan to give a donation as a gift to family, friends or colleagues during the festive season. This finding is supported by the World Giving Index, produced annually by the Charities Aid Foundation that, in 2018, ranked Australia 4th out of 146 countries in terms of its generosity.

“Our Gifts for Good Christmas Catalogue allows everyday Australians to buy scholarships, chicken farms, first aid kits, water filters, farm animals and warm jackets for vulnerable children and families in developing communities,” Ms Sheehan said.

“There is a huge range to choose from, and it can all be ordered online. Each gift comes with a card which can be given to your loved ones.

“2020 has bought such disruption and uncertainty for so many people around the world. We’d love Australians to help us ring in 2021 by giving a gift of joy that lasts forever.”

People can give a gift through ChildFund’s Gifts for Good catalogue at www.childfund.org.au/gifts-for-good. There is a huge range of gifts to choose from, and they can all be ordered online right up until Christmas Eve. Each gift comes with a card which can be given to your friends and family.

Great ethical gift ideas 

One mosquito net: $10

Every two minutes somewhere in the world, a child dies from malaria. Countless more suffer needlessly from this devastating — and preventable — disease. A simple mozzie net could save lives and is truly a gift that will keep on giving!

One school supplies set: $76

Help make 2021 a better one! Many children in South East Asia and the Pacific have not been back to school since learning was interrupted by COVID-19. Others just can’t afford basic school supplies like pens, pencils and notebooks. You can give one student the essential items they need for a successful year of learning, as well as a backpack to carry them in.

One handwashing station: $149

We know that this Christmas 40 per cent of the world’s population do not have access to soap and water at home. You can give the gift that will protect them from infectious diseases such as including cholera, hepatitis, diarrheal infections and COVID-19. You gift of a handwashing station could help keep children safe and encourage life-saving habits over a lifetime.

COVID-19 protection for 10 families: $800

At your (COVID safe) Christmas street party, or end-of-year work event, get together with friends and families in your street to provide COVID-19 protection kits for 10 families in our region. Your gift will help restock a health station with desperately needed medicines, medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other necessities to ensure that children and families have ready access to the care and resources they need to stay healthy.