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All over the world at this day and age, there are those less fortunate than ourselves who need help in order to face another day as life goes on.

Here in Papua New Guinea, our so-called PNG 'wantok system' has it's advantages and disadvantages. It helps us in times of despair when there is need for extended family members to care for another member who is unable to take care of themselves due to factors such as illness, the death or divorce of parents for the case of children and the list goes on.

However, there is also the bad side, which has been affecting alot of the children in our country. Child Abuse in the form of neglect, sexual, pysical and verbal abuse, stigma and discrimination to name just a few, are examples of the harsh treatment these children are being inflicted with, these innocent, gifts from God.

Here's a story of one such young person who needs your help. Devina Kramboku writes a personal autobiography of how life has been over the past nineteen years of her life. (please read on....)

Hi, my name is Devina Kramboku. I will be 20 years old this year, and I come from mixed parentage of Yangoru and Kairiru Island in the East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, and I am an only child in the family.

I was born on 19th January 1989 at Boram General Hospital in Wewak. We lived a happy life until 1990 when my parents divorced after so many arguments, while I was only one year old and knew nothing. My mother took me to her homeland which is Kairiru Island and left me there with my grandparents, who took care of me until when I was four years old. My parents went their separate ways and both got married to new husbands and wives.

Unfortunately when I was four, my grandma passed away, and I could no longer be taken care of by my two young uncles who were not quite ready to handle life with a young child in their care, and my grandpa was obviously too old.

So when my big uncle came for grandma's funeral, he decided to take me to live with his family in Mt. Hagen where I stayed and grew up a few years until I was in grade four. After my school year in fourth grade, he transfered me back to Kairiru Island to live with my other uncle. However, unfortunately my uncle and his wife always mistreated me. I ran away to stay with my other two younger uncles but still they were too young to take care of me.

So during one school holiday, I decided to run away from all this cruelty. It was a Thursday morning when my cousins were getting ready to leave for Wewak town in a dinghy. They were returning back to school after spending their holiday in the village. I woke up early that morning with only the clothes that I was wearing and a small bilum hanging from my side. I went and hid in the coconut plantations near the beach where the dinghy was. As the passengers on the dingy were paddling out before starting the engine, I rushed down to the beach and started swimming out to the dinghy. When my cousins saw this they yelled at me to go back, but as soon as I hung onto the side of the boat, I didn't want to let go because I didn't want to go back. I cried, and cried begging them to take me with them and not send me back to my cruel aunty.

They were so compassionate and so took me with them. And this was the start of a new beginning. From that day on, I was taken care of and very well looked after and I was also able to return back to school completing grades 5 and 6.

My biological father found me again and asked the family I was living with to take me with him to Yangoru (his home village) where I went on further in my education to do grades 7, 8 and then was selected for Mercy Secondary School to do grade 9.

After going back and living with my father again, I was very happy and felt for once in my life, that I had someone whom I could call 'papa'. I thanked God for this.

Eventhough my life seemed tough, I struggled along with it, knowing that God was always there being my strength and source of life no matter whatever happened.

Now I am currently doing my final year (grade 12) at Mercy Secondary School. Since grade 9, my father with the assistance of my elder cousin sister and her husband, have been looking for means and ways to pay for my school fees. However, unfortunately if I am granted an offer for tertiary studies I will not be able to go further in my education and achieve my intended goal as my father is only a subsistence farmer and he would be unable to pay for my fees.

Therefore I'm seeking help from anyone who may be able to make this dream/wish come true for me. Thank you & God bless all!

If you think that you may be able to help young Devina in any way possible, please contact:
Tracey Paliou

P.O. Box 179,
Aitape, Sandaun Province 553,
Ph: (675)8572046
Mobile: (675)76376430
Email: admin_kdla@global.net.pg

Bishop Otto Separy now sits in the Bishop's chair and holds the staff to signify his position as the Bishop of Aitape Diocese.

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