'A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families, He leads forth the prisoners with singing.'
Psalm 68: 5-6A
“Empowering individuals and impacting communities, one link at a time.”
To deliver programs that have a lasting and life transforming impact on those living impacted by HIV and the communities in which they live.
To operate a Child Sponsorship Program for children living impacted by HIV / AIDS
To provide care packages, school uniforms and supplies for children on the Child Sponsorship Program
To deliver a pre-school literacy program for children on the Child Sponsorship Program
To deliver Small Business Training for caregivers of our sponsored children and graduated LOH youth
To deliver community programs in settlement areas in HIV/AIDS education and awareness, small business and vocational skills
To operate a Fair Trade Craft Project working with LOH caregivers, with a particular focus on the women
To work closely with key partners such as HIV Paediatric Unit at Port Moresby General Hospital and the Hilary Clinic (Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority)
Provide primary healthcare services in those communities where children are on the child sponsorship program
Papua New Guinea (PNG) has the highest HIV prevalence in the Asia-Pacific Region, hovering at 1% of the total population. As of 2018, 48,000 people are living with HIV in PNG, of which 65% are enrolled on ART. There are an estimated 2,100 annual new infections, of which approximately 300 are infants born with HIV.
Compared to other high prevalence countries, PNG still struggles with PPTCT and therefore only 33% of HIV positive pregnant mothers access PPTCT interventions and there remains a 25% vertical transmission rate (children are born with HIV each year). This challenge is largely due to a lack of infrastructure and late uptake of antenatal care; however, it is important to note that parent to child transmission of HIV is entirely preventable. If parents are aware of their HIV status and remain on treatment for the duration of pregnancy and breastfeeding, if positive, then there is a >95% chance that the child will not contract HIV himself. In the interim, LOH aims to support children and families impacted by the HIV epidemic in order to ensure that these children have an equitable chance at a prosperous future.
Recognising a need and lack of formal support systems, Links of Hope (LOH) was founded in 2011 with an initial objective of supporting Papua New Guinean women released from prison in the creation of small business enterprises. LOH also assisted a number of widows from local communities and settlements and began supporting those impacted by the HIV and AIDS epidemic through linkages to care. A major focus of Links of Hope is now the operation of a Child Sponsorship program, supporting children impacted by the HIV epidemic. As of 2019, LOH has 300 children on the Child Sponsorship Program, all of whom are living in some way impacted by the HIV epidemic. Our remit and passion are to pastorally care for them and see them thrive in their communities by supporting them with education, basic health care, training in trade skills and small business enterprise for their caregivers, offering caregivers small business loans, and running community education initiatives.
Links of Hope takes child protection very seriously and we are always evolving our Child Protection Policy. View the most recent version here.
To operate a Child Sponsorship Program for children living affected by HIV
To provide care packages and school fees for children on Child Sponsorship Program
To deliver a pre-school literacy program weekly for children on Child Sponsorship Program
To provide Literacy and Further Education Training for Women in Bomana Women’s Prison
To deliver Small Business Training for carers of our sponsored children, women in prison and women on release
To deliver Community programs in settlement areas in HIV Education and Awareness, Small Business and Vocational Skills
To operate a Fair Trade Craft Project working with women on release from Bomana Women’s Prison
To work closely with key partners - HIV Paediatric Unit at Port Moresby General Hospital, Hilary Clinic - Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority, Businesses for Health, St Johns Ambulance PNG, Anglicare PNG, Tribal Foundation PNG, Soroptimist International, Brian Bell Foundation, Deloitte, FissPotts Rugby Club, amongst others
ON THE GROUND
Curious what we're up to on the ground in Port Moresby and Mount Hagen? Check out our recent newsletters for a glimpse into the field.
LINKS OF HOPE TEAM
Co-Founder and Chairman
John was born in PNG and raised in what is now the Jiwaka Province. His parents were pioneer missionaries and left him with an amazing legacy of cross-cultural ministry and a strong calling to the people of PNG. John is a Commercial Pilot, Aircraft Maintenance Engineer and an Aviation Regulator by profession. John has 30 years of aviation experience with 18 of those years serving with Mission Aviation Fellowship. He now heads up a NGO in PNG called the Rural Airstrip Agency of PNG that has the task to partner with the Government to maintain and restore around 650 airstrips throughout the country. He is passionate about PNG and its people and is keen to work with them to implement sustainable community development programs.
Deb was born in the UK and has a Bachelor of Food Science (Honours) Degree, graduating in 1988 from South Bank University in London, UK. She worked in the food industry for 20 years both in the UK and Australia. In 2010 Deb completed her Diploma of Youth Work. She has worked for Scripture Union Qld as a School Chaplain for 10 years and is currently a Chaplain in Cairns, Australia. Deb has led Christian Youth Camps with both Scripture Union Qld and Youth For Christ over the past 12 years and has pioneered a camp for adolescent girls on girl identity and God-given purpose since 2013. Deb and John are parents to 7 children. Deb is responsible for the majority of the administrative work required to keep Links of Hope functioning and growing. Her passion for seeing women and children well cared for has been a significant contributor to her founding Links of Hope. Deb lived in PNG 2010 - 2012 and shares a calling to the people of PNG.
Seruma is from Milne Bay Province. She has been volunteering with Links of Hope since 2015 and has previously worked within our pastoral care team. Seruma has been leading our team of staff in both Port Moresby and Mount Hagen for 2 years and is an asset to our team. Seruma has qualifications in Early Childhood education, Accounting and Business Management and has studied in both PNG and Australia. She is a mother of 3 girls and has a passion to see the young people in our program reach their full potential.
Maite Fernandez Huergo
Business Development Manager
Maite comes to us with a wealth of experience and qualification. Maite holds a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology and a Master's Degree in International Cooperation for Development from Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid, Spain. She is an enthusiastic and committed Development Project Manager with project development, research, and field experience. She has a background in the health sector, and through her previous experience working in Malaysia and Rwanda has developed a deep understanding of the importance of implementing sustainable solutions to support community development. Maite's work for us focuses on developing key partnerships, implementing key systems and procedures, capacity planning and growth, business expansion and strategic mapping.
Social Worker - Port Moresby
Elizabeth comes to us with a wealth of experience in the Health sector, previously working as a Social Worker at the Clinton Clinic in Port Moresby. She currently is based at Port Moresby General Hospital and works alongside clinical staff and social workers there to support our children on the ward and at their clinical reviews. Elizabeth is also a carer for our children in the Respite Centre. She is our main point of contact for carers to receive pastoral care, advice and counselling as they care for our children in communities.
Fiona Moss Selve
Operations Supervisor- Mt. Hagen
Fiona is originally from Madang, Papua New Guinea and has a Bachelors Degree in Community Development Studies from the PNG University of Technology. She has previously worked for several international and local NGOs across PNG and has supported female empowerment programs for women in the coffee industry in Jiwaka Province. Fiona is a passionate servant leader and spends her free time leading her community's youth group. She has been with LOH since 2019.
Project Officer- Port Moresby
Shalom joined Links of Hope PNG in July 2019 as a carer at the Respite Home as a way to give back to the community. Since then, Shalom rapidly grew within the organisation and became further involved in data and project aspects. She now leads the LOH weekly health education program. With HIV being an issue of population health, it is rare to see an NGO focusing on one-on-one quality support and provision for vulnerable children. Shalom appreciates this approach and its ability to make a tangible difference in the community.
Steve is an Australian who has been living in PNG for over 10 years. He has over 30 years of experience in business and has worked for several large Multi-National companies. He brings his expertise in negotiation, planning and budget control to our Board and shares the vison of Links of Hope's both short and long term plans. He is well connected in Business and has a passion for caring for those in need.
Talitha Ignatiah Morere
Operations Supervisor- Port Moresby
Talitha, born in Gulf Province, and mother to three boys, has a completed a Bachelor of Arts in Social and Religious Studies at Divine Word University, Madang. After graduating from DWU, she worked with the Catholic church, under several organisations in administration and teaching roles. Her favourite quote, and one she lives by is "I may not do great things, but I can do small things with great love" - Mother Theresa. She joined us at LOH in 2020 and her passion for service is a huge strength to our team.
Dr Magdalynn Kaupa
Dr Kaupa is head of Paediatrics with Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority, working out of Mount Hagen. She has been involved with Links of Hope since 2016 and shares our determination to see an end to stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS in Papua New Guinea. She has been instrumental in the expansion of our program into Mt Hagen and her expertise, energy and experience in the field are an asset to our Board. She is widely travelled internationally, a key networker and a devoted mother.