Supporting legal frameworks needed for orphanages

by Tokana Hasavi – EM TV, Port Moresby

Why doesn’t Papua New Guinea’s Constitution include a legal framework to implement orphanages?

This question was raised in parliament last year by outspoken NCD Governor, Powes Parkop, who was concerned about the amount of orphanages operating and was asking for assistance.

The then-Minister for Community Development and current Lae MP, Loujaya Kouza, explained that there aren’t any clear policies or legal boundaries to work within, as the creation and guidelines of orphanages weren’t clearly stipulated.

Last week, I met five ambitious students from an orphanage known as Life PNG Care at Gerehu Stage 3, who had a perfect start to their academic year after receiving sets of uniforms and stationery.

Despite experiencing the harsh realities of being homeless and destitute, they all have one goal in common: the desire to work towards a better life.

Out of the five recipients, I met Eva Quency and Anderson Ken.

Eva, with a beautiful smile, said she aspires to be a doctor, whilst Anderson, with an ardent look of determination, said he aims to be a scientist.

The donor, who is also IPBC’s managing director, Wasantha Kumarasiri, says as much as he wants to cater to all the children at the orphanage, he can only do so much. However, he did make an appeal to other corporates and individuals to give back to the community.

The man behind the orphanage, Collin Pake, is someone that all the kids at Life PNG Care look up to with respect.

Pake is a full-time public servant, but to the children, he is a hero and modern-day good Samaritan.

With his band of helpers, Pake established Life PNG Care two years ago.

But while individuals like Collin Pake offer hope to just a fraction of homeless children on Port Moresby’s streets, a deeper issue to be addressed lies within Papua New Guinea’s Constitution.

The Lukautim Pikinini Act must be reviewed to include the genesis and implementation of children’s care centres, otherwise known as orphanages.

A report on Radio Australia in January 2012 pertaining to Papua New Guinea’s statistics of homeless children showed preliminary findings that one in eight children in Papua New Guinea are homeless.

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