A Call to Arms

Papua New Guinea has an HIV and AIDS epidemic. It impacts most severely families and children. In PNG most people living with HIV are between 20 and 35 years old. The majority of these are parents with young and older children in their care. These children may themselves be infected although the majority will not be. But in all cases the impact of a parent’s illness, social stigma of the disease and the death of a parent will be difficult if not devastating for children and their families.

Large projects are bringing many opportunities and benefits to Papuan New Guineans. But these projects can unintentionally increase the risk of HIV infection. This is due to factors such as employees spending time away from their families and villages to work on project sites.

Resource companies have a role to play in promoting HIV education, access to prevention, and addressing the impacts of HIV. The Harold Mitchell Foundation is delighted that a number of resource company employees are seeking to raise funds to support a special project that assists children whose parents are affected by HIV. The project is run through the Asia Pacific Business Coalition on AIDS, an Australian organisation formed in to elicit and deliver a private sector response to the growing HIV epidemic in the Asia Pacific region. It has formed the Serendipity Education Endowment Fund to provide an education for children impacted by HIV and AIDS. The average cost to education a child is $400 per year. In order to ensure sustainability, children are only added to the scheme when funding is in place to complete their education, deemed to be an average of five years.

The Harold Mitchell Foundation has agreed to match the funds raised in this effort up to $25,000. If you are interested in this important initiative, please contact the Harold Mitchell Foundation by phone or e-mail. All donations are tax deductible.