National Disabled Day

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Disabled Seminar in Port Moresby.

There was a Disabled Seminar in Port Moresby from 9-16 February 2007. Delegates marched from the Holiday Inn to the John Guise Statium and got plenty of attention. Mary Tresa attended with some of the helpers from the Senta. She was able to do some networking. The Government is apparently offering some money for the disabled.

The pictures show Fiona Pilo, who is one of the teachers of the deaf in the Senta meeting the prime minister, and Mary Tresa leading the march, behind the Yawari mudmen. This has been good publicity for the Senta.

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Mary Tresa arrives at the Senta.

Mary Tresa has arrived to be the clinical director of the Senta. Mary Tresa comes from southern India and is a nurse with wide experience in managing the disabled and working in rural areas.
Father Phil Smith and Dr Elizabeth Lewis arrived in Vanimo with Mary Tresa on 4th September 2006. There was a welcoming party at the airport and then a special lunch next day at the Senta. The icecream at the lunch was kindly supplied by Brother James and was a big hit with the kids.

Mary Tresa has settled in and is working with Brother Ben and Florence to extend the support given to the children. She was introduced to the Board of the Senta Bilong Helpim and will take her place as a member.
Noreen Tom and Vicki Avai from Dame Carol Kidu department visited the Senta between 8th and 14th September and were very impressed by the level of support given to the children. They made a generous donation of 6,000 kina from the government.

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Dr Murnane and Dr Lewis visit the Senta.

Dr Merrilyn Murnane and Dr Elizabeth Lewis visited the Senta Bilong Helpim in June 2006. We started our visit to PNG with a meeting with Dame Carol Kidu, the minister for Community Development. Disability services are in her portfolio. We had a good hearing and she is keen to use the Senta as a flagship for the supply of disabled services in the country. She is keen to see the Senta in September when Dr Lewis returns for the passionists synod. Hopefully she will go to Vanimo with us then.

The Senta continues under the day to day management of Bro Ben. The Board under chairman John Barry meets regularly. In early September Mary Tresa arrives from India to run the Senta She is a nurse with many skills which will enhance our clinical programmes. She is also keen to improve the teaching and training of our helpers, perhaps linked to Callan services in Wewak. We also spent time in Wewak and Madang meeting people from Callan services and the Divine Word University. It is important to link with all the groups providing disabled services in the country.

The next main thrust of fundraising is for education of the children and training of the helpers This will make the Senta self sustainable. Mr Max Griffiths from Carlton Rotary joined us on this trip. Rotary is interested in helping in the country and has already been involved in projects such as water tanks and mosquito nets. Max hopes to interest Rotary in other major projects, and on this occasion presented $8,000 to Father Phil Smith for the Solar panels at the Senta.
(Left to right in the photo below left, are Dr. Elizabeth Lewis, Father Phil Smith, Dame Carol Kidu (Minister), Jean Eparo (Disabled Desk) Joesph Klapat (Secretary of Deptartment) and Dr. Merrilyn Murnane.)

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Brother Ben’s day at the Senta.

Each day at Monday to Friday at 7-15am I drive along the road picking up the children from town and nearby settlements. The bus arrives at the Senta by 9 am. We then have morning prayer followed by 30 minutes game. Later the children go to their respective groups according to the nature of their disabilities, and get ready for their normal classes. This is all done by the helpers.

At 1pm every Thursday we do a special programme, Community based rehabilitation {CBR} along the West coast road to Wutung. The helpers wanted to go into the bush areas also, but the cost of airfares makes it impossible. I spend most of my time at the Senta making sure the needs of the Senta are met and that it is operating well.

The generator is an ongoing problem, and the phone system is very bad. Some fuel was stolen recently. There are 37 children at the Senta and 20 helpers.I really enjoy working with the children, and the helpers. Recently we had a talk given to the parents on sexual abuse and family violence by the Department of Welfare, 43 attended. We are also preparing to host the National Disabled Day in Vanimo town on 29th March 2006.


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