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In Australia's diverse charity sector, there are thousands of fantastic stories about the impact charities have on their communities.

We recently spoke with registered charity Living Child Inc about their work, their most exciting recent development and how they protect their vulnerable beneficiaries.

living child

What does your charity do?

We provide basic safe motherhood training, education and support to Village Birth Attendants and Community Health workers in the remote Keram River area of East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. We’ve also recently branched out to conduct continuing professional development for all maternity care staff for the Province.

What is the most rewarding part?

When I hear stories from the women and community leaders, describing the changes that are happening in their remote villages due to the health training they’ve received from Living Child Inc. and put into practice.

What is the biggest challenge faced by your charity?

The areas Living Child Inc. work in are really remote. Getting to the villages is a huge challenge, but every time we have persevered despite the difficulty, it has been worth the effort. Although our teams are in the remote areas for a short amount of time, the remote people are so dedicated to improving health for their people, they are putting into practice what they’re learning and the whole community is reaping the benefit of their enthusiasm and continued efforts.

What is the most exciting development from your charity recently?

We have provided training to Village Birth Attendants in remote villages of the Keram River area since 2012. Their referral hospital which is a long distance away for the women, has not provided a service for women for over 15 years. Many women have died on the doorstep of this hospital due to a lack of services. Since 2017 Living Child has been working hard to find a PNG midwife prepared to relocate to the remote town, networking with the Provincial government to employ her, and then partnering with the local District government to renovate a staff house for her. In September 2018, Midwife Sr Linda Tano moved to Angoram as a Provincial Health Authority employee into a freshly renovated house (from fundraising efforts of Living Child) and has been providing maternity services at the local hospital. Living Child has also provided new medical equipment and training to her staff so that they can provide quality, kind care to women and babies. Since her arrival at the hospital, more women are now travelling to the hospital to give birth and several women have been referred to her from very remote areas and she has saved their life. Living Child continues to support Sr Tano to strengthen health services in the District for women and babies.

How have the ACNC's resources assisted your charity?

When I started Living Child Inc. I had no idea about how to run a charity. ACNC has been with us from the start and every time we have had a question or needed guidance we have found them to be a valuable source of encouragement and clarity. We have attended webinars about financial accountability which have really helped us develop good systems and ease anxiety around certain reporting. We use many of the templates available on the website and this has helped us provide reports and run Board meetings well; ensuring good governance.

Your charity works overseas - how does your charity safeguard and protect the vulnerable mothers and children you work with?

Living Child Inc. has a robust system of screening all our volunteers who will be conducting training and support in PNG. We have attended seminars about child and vulnerable persons protection and have written a policy about this which we adhere to. Our organisation has adopted a child safe culture from the Board all the way to the remote villages of PNG. Currently we’re enacting our new social media and photo policy to protect children and vulnerable people. We take this very seriously as abuse of women and children in PNG is endemic. We believe that we have to be good role models of care and kindness. As part of the pre-deployment induction for Living Child volunteers, we spend time discussing these issues.

Find out more about Living Child Inc on their website, or via their social media channels:

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