University of Third Age steps up to help

Val Gribble (left) with Judy Trinder, U3A Armchair Travel coordinator, at a recent meeting whereVal took a large gathering through many fascinating photos of her visits to PNG.

Rockhampton U3A members are providing invaluable support for women and girls living in Papua New Guinea according to Group President Cheryl Wickes.

Cheryl said the “Day for Girls” they hold each month to help out to create intimate kits are even more important at the moment with the country in turmoil due to elections.

“Once a month, members gather to create intimate kits for women, living in isolated villages in Papua New Guinea who have little or no access to essential personal items,” she said.

“In late June, Val Gribble took a full bag of kits to PNG for distribution through the Girls Friendly Society (GFS) which is a large worldwide organisation within the Anglican church.

“Val works in a support role to GFS in PNG.

“The Presidents of three different GFS areas, Popondetta, Port Moresby and Kokopo met with Val in Port Moresby for three days, and during this time she trained them in the use of the kits so that they can distribute them in their areas.”

Cheryl said distribution is currently harder than usual at the moment.

“Because of the turmoil and violence during the current elections and counting of votes in PNG, it is a difficult time for GFS members to meet together,” she said.

“Kokopo members met at the end of July and the kits allocated to them were distributed.

“Members in Port Moresby live in a very at risk area so no gatherings have taken place at this time.

“Popondetta leaders will meet in September with some 700 girls are expected, and the training and distribution will be offered to those who live in remote mountainous areas.

“There is a huge interest in the kits and a great need, but getting them to these places is difficult and expensive. U3A Day for Girls thanks Val for her efforts to distribute the kits.”

Val is a frequent visitor to PNG, having worked with the Anglican Church for many years. She returned from her recent trip with many thanks offered to Rockhampton ladies for creating the kits at their meetings on the 3rd Monday of each month.

Cheryl said Val recently addressed the U3A Armchair Travel meeting, held on the third Friday of each month, showing photos and sharing many memories of her visits to PNG over several decades.

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