Papua New Guinea to Perth

By Celeste Larkins


For a week in February, HCR had the greatest pleasure of training a lovely young gentleman, Sidney, from the Tari province in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.  Sidney has been involved in the set-up of the community radio station Hela FM, under the guidance of HCR Board Member, Martin Gould.  Finally, after much preparation, the radio is very close to being on air. Sidney traveled all the way to Perth to continue his training with HCR to be ready as a community broadcaster.

Celeste (right), Sidney (centre) and Dane (left) in the office.

Celeste (right), Sidney (centre) and Dane (left) in the office.

Radio Hela will be established as a community-centred radio station to help the community of Tari to address health and social issues.  While the station is yet to air, Sidney has already been spending time in the villages connecting community and service providers, as well as recording people’s stories, with thousands of files on the database all ready for when the station begins broadcast.  The week of training in Perth with Sidney further developed his fast-progressing radio skills. Topics covered through the week of training in Perth included the role of community-centred media and developing programs and techniques to engage with community using radio.

Sidney has dedicated a lot of time and hard-work to generate interest in the villages of Tari province, and has been able to commit this time with the support of the local church.  The HCR team were very impressed at Sidney’s eagerness and enthusiasm to learn as much as possible to further help his community.  The week Sidney arrived, Martin purchased him a laptop, which was his first own laptop and his face said it all about how appreciative he was.  He had such joy and excitement.  In comparison to many of us who have all that we need and want at our fingertips, Sidney is so willing to give, even while having minimal commodities available to him.

Sidney told us of his community and how he walks hours to get to each village.  He explained that communities rely on generators for electricity, that there is no running water, how they eat what they grow or find food in the bush, and he spoke of the impact malaria has in the province.  When asked what he does on the weekend his response was that he often goes hunting…with bow and arrow.  It is incredible how different his lifestyle is to ours, and how we often take for granted simple things like having clean water from a tap.

Words cannot describe how inspiring Sidney is and we are grateful that he is a member of our HCR team. Watch this space, because he is going to continue to do great things!