NORTH Queensland-based shipping company Sea Swift and Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch have teamed up with a generous Cairns couple to help donate clothes to a poverty-stricken region in Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinean Sally Kaida and her husband Stephen Dunick approached Mr Entsch to see if he could help get bags of clothes they had collected to people in need across the Australian border and into PNG.
Mr Entsch was inspired by their humanitarian efforts and put Stephen and Sally in touch with marine transport provider Sea Swift.
Mr Dunick said he was thrilled when Sea Swift then offered to donate and ship a secure container for the clothes from Cairns to Saibai Island in the Torres Strait, from where the charity goods will be distributed to those in need across the border.
“I can’t thank Warren and Sea Swift enough for their incredible support in making this all happen,” said Mr Dunick.
“Without Warren’s connections and Sea Swift’s generosity, it wouldn’t be happening, and on behalf of all the people who this will help, we are so grateful.
“The people we want to get these clothes to already know the container is on its way and are really excited.
“It will help people’s lives in what is often a forgotten area of PNG.”
Stephen and Sally, who comes from a village in the Fly River region of PNG’s Western Province, have collected more than 100 bags of clothes over the past few years through kind community donations.
“Having come from the region, Sally has first-hand knowledge of what a huge need there is for clothing up there,” said Mr Dunick.
“The villagers from the Fly River don’t have the basics, and this is going to make a real difference. I’d like to thank everyone involved who has made this possible.”
Mr Entsch, who has travelled around South Fly a number of times, said people needed to visit the area in order to comprehend the level of poverty there.
“It’s an area where there is acute poverty, as extreme as you’ll see in any Third World country,” he said. “They don’t have money and there is almost no capacity for them to access any kind of basic clothing. That’s why these sorts of donations have a profound positive impact on the lives of people in these communities.
“I’d also like to congratulate Sea Swift for their involvement every time we have an issue like this, they are the first to step up. They have outstanding compassion and civic-mindedness.”
Sea Swift Chief Executive Officer Fred White said the company was delighted to help a worthy cause as part of its community program.
“We operate across the Torres Strait and are aware of the difficulties faced by residents in the Fly River region of PNG,” Mr White said.
“Warren spoke to me about Sally and Stephen’s efforts, and we were keen to help out by providing a container and shipping free of charge.
“The loaded container will arrive on Saibai Island early next week, and we expect to send a full container of clothes a couple of times a year.
“Sally and Stephen should be praised for their superb efforts in helping those in need.”