Three Popondetta women have returned to Papua New Guinea recently (11 Oct 2002) following their attendance at a major World Conference of Anglican men and women at Cairns and Townsville. The Conference, which attracted 220 attendees from around the world, was the World Conference of GFS - an Anglican family ministry that is growing rapidly in the Popondota Anglican Diocese.
Mrs. Lucille Haembo is the Coordinator of GFS at Popondetta and was the senior delegate for GFS in Papua New Guinea. Mrs. Alison Boworo and Mrs. Mary Bagu who are both members and leaders of the organisation accompanied her.
GFS is still called the Girls Friendly Society in some parts of the world, having been started in England in 1875 to work with disadvantaged girls. A number of African countries, Australia and Papua New Guinea now have male members and so use the shortened name.
GFS works in many different areas around the world, in AIDS Education, working with the homeless and disadvantaged, empowering women to assist in leadership roles and in organising children's Christian activity groups (the main focus of the organisation in Australia). In Popondota Diocese the organisation mainly works with young men and women encouraging them in leadership roles and in service to others, following the motto of the organisation to "bear one another's burdens".
During the Conference Mrs. Haembo was able to report to the World Council on the World Project that for the last three years has been the support of GFS in Papua New Guinea. The project has met the required funds from donations from around the world and which have provided training visits from GFS leaders from Australia in the past three years and for the building of a training centre in Popondetta (expected to be completed next year).
Although the World Project has been completed, GFS in Australia has elected to continue to support GFS in Papua New Guinea to continue annual training visits and assistance in preparing resources suitable for PNG culture.
If you wish to find out more about GFS please contact Mrs Lucille Haembo, PO Box 376 Popondetta or on 675 3297682 (Popondetta Hospital) or contact the link person in Australia for Papua New Guinea, Val Gribble, firstname.lastname@example.org
GFS in Australia is just starting to develop its own web page http://gfsaustralia.org.au/kidsplus.html.