Former marijuana addicts and former prison inmates in a village outside Mt Hagen city were recently given some assistance to start a new life.
The Kelua Drug and Crime Stoppers Association gave 26 of its members K1000 worth of materials each to help each one start a small business. Two received K2000 worth of trade store goods, nine were presented seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides and gardening tools worth K9000 and 15 received one box of chicks and seven bags of stock feed bags each to start poultry projects.
Association chairman Paul Kilt thanked local MP and Minister for State and Public Enterprises William Duma for giving K50,000 to the association early this year.
Kilt said that the association was formed nine years ago with the support of non-government organisations like the Melanesian Solidarity and the Catholic Church to minimise law and order issues in the area.
He said Kelua was known as “Sin City”.
Kilt said this had changed during the nine years when many, involved in criminal activities had quit their bad ways and were rehabilitated.
He said the association’s activities had helped cut down on criminal activities and smoking of marijuana, and restored peace and harmony in the community.
“We are now supporting the reformed drug addicts and criminals with K26,000 worth of materials.”
He said that after six months the youths will repay K500 to the association to help other members .
Those who repay K500 by March next year would be eligible for bigger funding to expand their projects or business activities but those who failed to repay would not be considered for future assistance, Kilt said.
The patron of the association, Robert Mek, said he was satisfied with the work of association so far.
He said the once no-go zone for outsiders was now becoming a peaceful place.
The National Newspaper August 23, 2017