THE Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) through the Community of the Sisters of the Church (CSC) officially opened Malaita Christian Care Center (MCCC) in Auki, Diocese of Malaita (DOM) on Saturday 15th May.
The Malaita Christian Care Centre or safe home for women, young girls and children who are victims of Gender Based Violence and Abuse, is the second such Center (CCC) to be established in Solomon Islands by the sisters after the one at Tenaru area, east of Honiara in Guadalcanal.
This is another achievement in the mission and ministry of the community of the Sisters of the Church (CSC) in responding to one of their objectives which is to provide pastoral care for women and teenage children and uphold the Christian principles of family life.
Coordinator of MCCC, Sister Doreen Awaiasi (CSC) who was instrumental in the establishment of the Center said; the sisters begun housing the victims of Domestic Violence in the then household here in Auki, Malaita in 2018.
“In December the same year, the Sisters begun the work on the foundation of the MCCC because there were no enough rooms to house women, young girls and children whom are victims of Gender based violence,” Sr Doreen added.
“Today, we are so thankful to – ACOM Provincial Headquarters, DOM, Auki police, Malaita Provincial Government, the Lawyers and Doctors in Auki, landowners, Business houses, partners and stakeholders, individuals, families and Associates of CSC who have contributed in one way or the other to finally mark the opening of this safe home for the rising victims of GBV in Malaita,” she continued.
“Fencing the area from perpetrators is our other priority that is yet to be done and we need your help; but we cannot wait because victims are already coming in looking for safe place to stay.” Sister Doreen added.
In his acknowledgement to Sr. Doreen and her team for establishing the center and accepting his support of SBD $506,8000.00 towards the establishment of the center; the Guest of honor to the ceremony, 89 years old Catholic Priest (Retired) from the Netherlands Rev. Gerald Bruns said, ‘the greatest contribution you people can do and should make is this, STOP AND PREVENT VIOLENCE OF ANY KIND IN OUR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES. That is our Christian duty.’
He warned all those who attended the ceremony to work together in supporting the MCCC as a place for protection, a place for healing, a place for Trauma counselling, a place leading to reconciliation and peace by restoring the broken relationships of trust and love.
Acknowledging the completion of this safe home; Stanley Riolo, Provincial Police Commander in Malaita Province assures the management of MCCC that Auki Police will continue to work in partnership with the center, not only through security but also in raising awareness of Gender Based Violence around the Province so that we do not see women, young girls and children coming in to the center.
ACOM General Secretary, Dr. Abraham Hauriasi in his address also joined the others in highlighting the need for collaboration of all partners and stakeholders for the operation of the Centre.
“As MCCC may continue to need our support through finance and other in-kind assistance; the sisters will also need capacity building in various areas such as trauma counselling and healing, administration, financial management and other services,” Dr. Hauriasi said.
Deputy Prime Minister, Honorable Manasseh Maelanga, who also attended the opening of MCCC assures the management of the center of the Government’s continuous support to such important undertakings in our nation.
“Our Government will be very happy to support you through the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs,” Hon. Maelanga added.
The permanently built center has six bedrooms downstairs with a kitchen, dining room, toilets and showers, counselling room and an office space. The upstairs will be used by the four sisters who will be manning the center with other supporters of the center.
Right in front of the building is a locally built hall that will be used as a learning environment for children who came in with their mothers to the center.
Bishop of the Diocese of Malaita, the Right Reverend Sam Sahu assisted by the ACOM Mission Secretary, Rev. Nigel Kelaepa and Mission Secretary of the Diocese of Malaita, Rev. Paul Okai bless and dedicated the Centre which was declared open through cutting of the ribbon by the ACOM General Secretary Dr. Abraham Hauriasi and his wife Mercy Hauriasi and Rev. Gerald Bruns.
The official opening of MCCC was followed by a thanks giving and holy eucharist service led by Fr. Nigel Kelaepa, Mission Secretary ACOM and Fr.Paul Okai, Mission Secretary in the Diocese of Malaita.
The service was held at Saint Peters chapel at Tatarabebe community, the host community of MCCC.
Associates from around the DOM and Diocese of Central Melanesia (DOCM) in Honiara and supporters and stakeholders of MCCC came to witness the official opening of the Malaita Christian Care Centre.