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Senta Bilong Helpim
Senta Bilong Helpim – Care Centre in Vanimo, PNG for children with disabilities.
St. Gemma’s “Senta Bilong Helpim” which is Pidgin English meaning “Care Centre” started in Waromo in 1994.
The following is the story of its starting and its mission.
The Passionist Fathers developed a facility called Senta Bilong Helpim (SBH) in the village of Vanimo, Sandaun Province, Papua New Guinea in the 1980s to provide relief for vulnerable children with physical and mental disabilities. Prior to SBH being established children with significant disabilities would be ostracised by their communities and not receive medical treatment or even basic human compassion. Through the care and compassion offered at SBH hundreds of children have experienced a significantly improved quality of life and dignity. Some, who in the past would have been excluded from their communities, have gone on to lead fulfilling and productive lives. In addition to providing care at SBH there have been occasions where pro bono surgery has been organised through Australian surgeons to assist saving and improving the lives of some of the worst affected children.
The demand on the services offered by SBH continues to grow and there is a need to provide additional and improved facilities to meet this demand and provide the level of care the people with disabilities require and deserve. SBH is managed by a Passionist Father and a Passionist Sister who supervise many volunteers providing care to the children.
Without access to SBH the disabled children of the Sandaun Province of Papua New Guinea would be greatly disadvantaged and marginalised. In addition to managing SBH in Vanimo, fundraising activities in Australia have provided much needed financial support.
Through the development of close relationships with local landholders a parcel of land has been secured on which it is intended to develop an accommodation building to enable children with disabilities to remain on site for treatment rather than having to endure long uncomfortable daily bus rides from their village.