NEWS CENTRE

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Mercy Works Inc. often gets requests from schools, parishes, community groups and businesses asking how they can help specific community development projects. We’ve outlined four projects in Timor Leste, Papua new Guinea and Pakistan that need urgent assistance. Can you help?

1. Farm project giving at-risk young men in PNG hope

Did you know?
In Papua New Guinea’s remote and mostly rural Western Province where there is little infrastructure and very few roads, education and health services are poor and employment opportunities are limited. Like the rest of PNG , nearly half the population are under 18 years of age. What hope is there for people, especially the young, in PNG’s rural and remote areas?

Mercy Works Inc. response…
Mercy Works Inc. is supporting the Diocese of Daru-Kiunga to establish an innovative farm project for young men near the mining town of Kiunga in the Western Province. The Emmaus Farm is helping unskilled and unemployed young men at risk of joining PNG’s notorious ‘raskol’ gangs to gain farming skills and employment.

The 72-acre farm, which is home to 20 young men at any one time, is steadily being developed. Phase one involved setting up farm infrastructure and planting fruit trees vegetable gardens and forest trees. Now the farm is moving into its next phase: growing chickens.

By producing an ongoing supply of chicken eggs and meat, the farm community will have protein-rich food for its own consumption but also to sell to the local community.

How you can help…

  • $1500 will help buy 200 chicks
  • $500 will help purchase materials to build chicken coops
  • $250 will help buy chicken feed

2. Education vital for Timor Leste’s long-term development

Did you know?
Timor Leste is Asia’s youngest and poorest nation. About 49.9% of people live on less than $1 a day, the average life expectancy is 61 years, only 50.1% of adults are literate, and unemployment is high. Timor Leste also has a very young population; about 50% of the country is below 18 years of age. To overcome the vicious cycle of poverty in the country, education opportunities are crucial.

Mercy Works Inc. response…
Mercy Works Inc. has already supported the development of a kindergarten in Fohorem, a remote community in the south-west of Timor Leste. Families from the nearby village of Datorua have noticed the positive effects on children attending Fohorem’s school. But the walk to Fohorem is too great for children of this age. The Datorua community has asked Mercy Works Inc. for support to establish a similar learning centre for their pre-school-aged children.

How you can help…

  • $1000 will help fund building supplies
  • $600 will help fund educational resources
  • $300 will help install solar panels to generate power
  • $100 will help fund school desks and chairs

3. Tackling urban poverty in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands

Did you know?
Papua New Guinea, Australia’s closest neighbour, has been described as chronically poor. About 40% of its people live on less than $1 a day. Life expectancy and literacy rates are low, while maternal and infant mortality rates are excessively high. The country also has the highest incidence of HIV in the Pacific region. In large towns like Goroka and Mt Hagen, rapid urbanisation has contributed to escalating poverty levels, unemployment, overcrowding, violence and crime.

Mercy Works Inc. response…
Mercy Works PNG, a community development project of the Sisters of Mercy, PNG and Mercy Works Inc., is empowering young people and their families in the Eastern and Western Highlands Provinces to address poverty, unemployment, domestic violence and HIV-AIDS.

Mercy Works’ drop-in and referral centres at Goroka and Mt Hagen offer skill development workshops, support groups and individual advocacy and referral services. An outreach service is also available to villages outside these towns. Areas covered include human rights awareness, health education, violence prevention, parenting skills, cooking and sewing, budgeting and income-generation.

How you can help…

  • $1500 will support a 12-month human rights education radio programme
  • $500 will help people learn budgeting and small business skills
  • $350 will help a HIV-AIDS support and advocacy group
  • $150 will support an anti-violence programme
  • $50 will help women and men learn sewing and cooking skills

4. Helping women to become teachers in Pakistan

Did you know?
Access to education remains a significant challenge for many of Pakistan’s 173 million people, but it is especially so for females. Educating females, particularly those from minority groups, is not a priority: marriage is the primary goal. Even among families who regard education as a way out of poverty for their children, a male child will always be given the opportunity to be educated over a girl.

Mercy Works Inc. response…
Mercy Works Inc. is supporting the development of the Notre Dame Institute of Education (NDIE) in Karachi, a highly respected teacher-education facility in Pakistan.

Students come to NDIE from all over Pakistan and from different ethnic and religious groups. For many of the students, they are the first in their families to be educated. About 80% are women and almost all of them require additional financial support.

Providing such support builds the self-esteem of the young women and they are not viewed as financial burdens on their families. Once they graduate, these women have the potential to make a significant difference within their own families and the school communities which employ them.

How you can help…

  • $3000 will help support two young Pakistani women to undertake their teacher-education studies at the Notre Dame Institute of Education.