29 Aug 2014

Orphan numbers blur into everyday life in Port Moresby

8:13 am on 29 August 2014

A Catholic priest whose NGO provides help for orphans as well as women and children at risk in Papua New Guinea's capital says it is not often openly admitted that poverty is widespread in PNG.

Father John Glynn of WeCare says that while the country's experienced huge economic growth in recent years, those living at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder are struggling more than ever.

He says among the teeming masses in Port Moresby's squatter settlements, there are many people, especially the young, who are falling through the gaps.

Father John says it is hard to say how many orphans there are, because of the fluidity of the definition.

"The big family of fifteen people, say, in a house. The children going out every day, the boys especially, begging on the street, collecting bottles, sometimes they just don't come home. They live in little gangs under trees here in Boroko or up in the old parliament building, in town, or in various spots around the city, and they don't come home: are they orphans?"

Father John Glynn.

Father John Glynn in PNG

Father John Glynn of WeCare in PNG Photo: Johnny Blades RNZI